Venetian Glass

Amy Lowell - 1874-1925
          As one who sails upon a wide, blue sea
          Far out of sight of land, his mind intent
          Upon the sailing of his little boat,
          On tightening ropes and shaping fair his course,
          Hears suddenly, across the restless sea,
          The rhythmic striking of some towered clock,
          And wakes from thoughtless idleness to time:
          Time, the slow pulse which beats eternity!
          So through the vacancy of busy life
          At intervals you cross my path and bring
          The deep solemnity of passing years.
          For you I have shed bitter tears, for you
          I have relinquished that for which my heart
          Cried out in selfish longing.  And to-night
          Having just left you, I can say:  "'T is well.
          Thank God that I have known a soul so true,
          So nobly just, so worthy to be loved!"

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?