Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


New York at Night

          A near horizon whose sharp jags
           Cut brutally into a sky
          Of leaden heaviness, and crags
          Of houses lift their masonry
           Ugly and foul, and chimneys lie
          And snort, outlined against the gray
           Of lowhung cloud. I hear the sigh
          The goaded city gives, not day
          Nor night can ease her heart, her anguished labours stay.

          Below, straight streets, monotonous,
           From north and south, from east and west,
          Stretch glittering; and luminous
           Above, one tower tops the rest
           And holds aloft man's constant quest:
          Time!  Joyless emblem of the greed
           Of millions, robber of the best
          Which earth can give, the vulgar creed
          Has seared upon the night its flaming ruthless screed.

          O Night!  Whose soothing presence brings
           The quiet shining of the stars.
          O Night!  Whose cloak of darkness clings
           So intimately close that scars
           Are hid from our own eyes. Beggars
          By day, our wealth is having night
           To burn our souls before altars
          Dim and tree-shadowed, where the light
          Is shed from a young moon, mysteriously bright.

          Where art thou hiding, where thy peace?
           This is the hour, but thou art not.
          Will waking tumult never cease?
           Hast thou thy votary forgot?
           Nature forsakes this man-begot
          And festering wilderness, and now
           The long still hours are here, no jot
          Of dear communing do I know;
          Instead the glaring, man-filled city groans below!

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

About this Poem


From A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1912).

Author


Amy Lowell

Born in 1874, Amy Lowell was deeply interested in and influenced by the Imagist movement and she received the Pulitzer Prize for her collection What's O'Clock.

Date Published: 2018-07-05

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/new-york-night