Amy Lowell: Thompson's Lunch Room — Grand Central Station

Thompson's Lunch Room — Grand Central Station

Study in Whites

Wax-white — Floor, ceiling, walls. Ivory shadows Over the pavement Polished to cream surfaces By constant sweeping. The big room is coloured like the petals Of a great magnolia, And has a patina Of flower bloom Which makes it shine dimly Under the electric lamps. Chairs are ranged in rows Like sepia seeds Waiting fulfilment. The chalk-white spot of a cook's cap Moves unglossily against the vaguely bright wall — Dull chalk-white striking the retina like a blow Through the wavering uncertainty of steam. Vitreous-white of glasses with green reflections, Ice-green carboys, shifting — greener, bluer — with the jar of moving water. Jagged green-white bowls of pressed glass Rearing snow-peaks of chipped sugar Above the lighthouse-shaped castors Of grey pepper and grey-white salt. Grey-white placards:  "Oyster Stew, Cornbeef Hash, Frankfurters": Marble slabs veined with words in meandering lines. Dropping on the white counter like horn notes Through a web of violins, The flat yellow lights of oranges, The cube-red splashes of apples, In high plated `epergnes'. The electric clock jerks every half-minute: "Coming! — Past!" "Three beef-steaks and a chicken-pie," Bawled through a slide while the clock jerks heavily. A man carries a china mug of coffee to a distant chair. Two rice puddings and a salmon salad Are pushed over the counter; The unfulfilled chairs open to receive them. A spoon falls upon the floor with the impact of metal striking stone, And the sound throws across the room Sharp, invisible zigzags Of silver.