They have watered the street, It shines in the glare of lamps, Cold, white lamps, And lies Like a slow-moving river, Barred with silver and black. Cabs go down it, One, And then another, Between them I hear the shuffling of feet. Tramps doze on the window-ledges, Night-walkers pass along the sidewalks. The city is squalid and sinister, With the silver-barred street in the midst, Slow-moving, A river leading nowhere. Opposite my window, The moon cuts, Clear and round, Through the plum-coloured night. She cannot light the city: It is too bright. It has white lamps, And glitters coldly. I stand in the window and watch the moon. She is thin and lustreless, But I love her. I know the moon, And this is an alien city.
Amy Lowell - 1874-1925
"'I can't get out', said the starling." Sterne's 'Sentimental Journey'. Forever the impenetrable wall Of self confines my poor rebellious soul, I never see the towering white clouds roll Before a sturdy wind, save through the small Barred window of my jail. I live a thrall With all my outer life a clipped, square hole, Rectangular; a fraction of a scroll Unwound and winding like a worsted ball. My thoughts are grown uneager and depressed Through being always mine, my fancy's wings Are moulted and the feathers blown away. I weary for desires never guessed, For alien passions, strange imaginings, To be some other person for a day.