Teatro Bambino. Dublin, N. H.

Amy Lowell - 1874-1925
          How still it is! Sunshine itself here falls
           In quiet shafts of light through the high trees
          Which, arching, make a roof above the walls
           Changing from sun to shadow as each breeze
          Lingers a moment, charmed by the strange sight
          Of an Italian theatre, storied, seer
           Of vague romance, and time's long history;
          Where tiers of grass-grown seats sprinkled with white,
           Sweet-scented clover, form a broken sphere
           Grouped round the stage in hushed expectancy.

          What sound is that which echoes through the wood?
           Is it the reedy note of an oaten pipe?
          Perchance a minute more will see the brood
           Of the shaggy forest god, and on his lip
          Will rest the rushes he is wont to play.
           His train in woven baskets bear ripe fruit
           And weave a dance with ropes of gray acorns,
          So light their touch the grasses scarcely sway
           As they the measure tread to the lilting flute.
           Alas! 't is only Fancy thus adorns.

          A cloud drifts idly over the shining sun.
           How damp it seems, how silent, still, and strange!
          Surely 't was here some tragedy was done,
           And here the chorus sang each coming change?
          Sure this is deep in some sweet, southern wood,
           These are not pines, but cypress tall and dark;
           That is no thrush which sings so rapturously,
          But the nightingale in his most passionate mood
           Bursting his little heart with anguish. Hark!
           The tread of sandalled feet comes noiselessly.

          The silence almost is a sound, and dreams
           Take on the semblances of finite things;
          So potent is the spell that what but seems
           Elsewhere, is lifted here on Fancy's wings.
          The little woodland theatre seems to wait,
           All tremulous with hope and wistful joy,
           For something that is sure to come at last,
          Some deep emotion, satisfying, great.
           It grows a living presence, bold and shy,
           Cradling the future in a glorious past.

More by Amy Lowell

A London Thoroughfare. 2 A.M.


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.

Opal

You are ice and fire,
The touch of you burns my hands like snow.
You are cold and flame.
You are the crimson of amaryllis,
The silver of moon-touched magnolias.
When I am with you,
My heart is a frozen pond
Gleaming with agitated torches.

The Taxi

When I go away from you
The world beats dead 
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?