New York Nocturnes and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts


Night in a Down-town Street


Not in the eyed, expectant gloom,
   Where soaring peaks repose
And incommunicable space
   Companions with the snows;

Not in the glimmering dusk that crawls

   Upon the clouded sea,
Where bourneless wave on bourneless wave
   Complains continually;

Not in the palpable dark of woods
   Where groping hands clutch fear,

Does Night her deeps of solitude
   Reveal unveiled as here.

The street is a grim canon carved
   In the eternal stone,
That knows no more the rushing stream

   It anciently has known.

The emptying tide of life has drained
   The iron channel dry.
Strange winds from the forgotten day
   Draw down, and dream, and sigh.


The narrow heaven, the desolate moon
   Made wan with endless years,
Seem less immeasurably remote
   Than laughter, love, or tears.