The shine of many city streets
Confuses any countryman;
It flickers here and flashes there,
It goes as soon as it began,
It beckons many ways at once
For him to follow if he can.
Under the lamp a woman stands,
The lamps are shining equal well,
But in her eyes are other lights,
And lights plus other lights will tell:
He loves the brightness of that street
Which is the shining street to hell.
There’s light enough, and strong enough,
To lighten every pleasant park;
I’m sorry lights are held so cheap,
I’d rather there were not a spark
Than choose those shining ways for joy
And have them lead me into dark.
This poem is in the public domain, and originally appeared in Poems about God (Henry Holt and Co, 1919).