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
Some men there are who find in nature all Their inspiration, hers the sympathy Which spurs them on to any great endeavor, To them the fields and woods are closest friends, And they hold dear communion with the hills; The voice of waters soothes them with its fall, And the great winds bring healing in their sound. To them a city is a prison house Where pent up human forces labour and strive, Where beauty dwells not, driven forth by man; But where in winter they must live until Summer gives back the spaces of the hills. To me it is not so. I love the earth And all the gifts of her so lavish hand: Sunshine and flowers, rivers and rushing winds, Thick branches swaying in a winter storm, And moonlight playing in a boat's wide wake; But more than these, and much, ah, how much more, I love the very human heart of man. Above me spreads the hot, blue mid-day sky, Far down the hillside lies the sleeping lake Lazily reflecting back the sun, And scarcely ruffled by the little breeze Which wanders idly through the nodding ferns. The blue crest of the distant mountain, tops The green crest of the hill on which I sit; And it is summer, glorious, deep-toned summer, The very crown of nature's changing year When all her surging life is at its full. To me alone it is a time of pause, A void and silent space between two worlds, When inspiration lags, and feeling sleeps, Gathering strength for efforts yet to come. For life alone is creator of life, And closest contact with the human world Is like a lantern shining in the night To light me to a knowledge of myself. I love the vivid life of winter months In constant intercourse with human minds, When every new experience is gain And on all sides we feel the great world's heart; The pulse and throb of life which makes us men!