It is winter in California, and outside
Is like the interior of a florist shop:
A chilled and moisture-laden crop
Of pink camellias lines the path; and what
Rare roses for a banquet or a bride,
So multitudinous that they seem a glut!
A line of snails crosses the golf-green lawn
From the rosebushes to the ivy bed;
An arsenic compound is distributed
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in 'Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light, --
Love is mighty
Because of its might,
we're havng day and night.
Be we black, brown or yellow or white,
everything manages to work out all right.
Love for a mate
is the most great.
A child's love is sweet and dear
and keeps us in good cheer.
And when, in the city in which I love you,
even my most excellent song goes unanswered,
andI mount the scabbed streets,
the long shouts of avenues,
and tunnel sunken night in search of you...
That I negotiate fog, bituminous
rain rining like teeth into the beggar's tin,
or two men jackaling a third in some alley
weirdly lit by a couch on fire, that I
Searching my heart for its true sorrow,
This is the thing I find to be:
That I am weary of words and people,
Sick of the city, wanting the sea;
Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness
Of the strong wind and shattered spray;
Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound
Of the big surf that breaks all day.
There! See the line of lights,
A chain of stars down either side the street --
Why can't you lift the chain and give it to me,
A necklace for my throat? I'd twist it round
And you could play with it. You smile at me
As though I were a little dreamy child
Behind whose eyes the fairies live. . . . And see,
The people on the street look up at us
All envious. We are a king and queen,
Our royal carriage is a motor bus,
The park is filled with night and fog,
The veils are drawn about the world,
The drowsy lights along the paths
Are dim and pearled.
Gold and gleaming the empty streets,
gold and gleaming the misty lake,
The mirrored lights like sunken swords,
Glimmer and shake.
Vivid with love, eager for greater beauty
Out of the night we come
Into the corridor, brilliant and warm.
A metal door slides open,
And the lift receives us.
Swiftly, with sharp unswerving flight
The car shoots upward,
And the air, swirling and angry,
Howls like a hundred devils.
Past the maze of trim bronze doors,
An omnibus across the bridge
Crawls like a yellow butterfly,
And, here and there a passer-by
Shows like a little restless midge.
Big barges full of yellow hay
Are moored against the shadowy wharf,
And, like a yellow silken scarf,
The thick fog hangs along the quay.
TO get betimes in Boston town, I rose this morning early;
Here's a good place at the corner--I must stand and see the show.
Clear the way there, Jonathan!
Way for the President's marshal! Way for the government cannon!
Way for the Federal foot and dragoons--and the apparitions copiously
I love to look on the stars and stripes--I hope the fifes will play