Amy Lowell: New York at Night

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!