Charles Hanson Towne: City Roofs

City Roofs

Charles Hanson Towne

Roof-tops, roof-tops, what do you cover? Sad folk, bad folk, and many a glowing lover; Wise people, simple people, children of despair — Roof-tops, roof-tops, hiding pain and care.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, O what sin you're knowing, While above you in the sky the white clouds are blowing; While beneath you, agony and dolor and grim strife Fight the olden battle, the olden war of Life.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, cover up their shame — Wretched souls, prisoned souls too piteous to name; Man himself hath built you all to hide away the stars — Roof-tops, roof-tops, you hide ten million scars.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, well I know you cover Many solemn tragedies and many a lonely lover; But ah, you hide the good that lives in the throbbing city — Patient wives, and tenderness, forgiveness, faith, and pity.
Roof-tops, roof-tops, this is what I wonder: You are thick as poisonous plants, thick the people under; Yet roofless, and homeless, and shelterless they roam, The driftwood of the town who have no roof-top and no home!