Flammantia Moenia Demimundi

(To A. P. Herbert)

You saw Manhattan rising from the sea
And on the clear transparence of her sky
That spiring profile glitter to the sun.
Perhaps I can imagine what you thought:
Why, no one told me it would be like this,
So beautiful, so proud!

One cannot learn about a foreign land
Except by seeing her. So go your ways
Watching and harking in her tall, tall streets,
Alternately aghast, amused, amazed.
See how the bright, thin light that is her own
Shifts daylong on her terraces and cliffs
In opal tints; at dusk the fallen sun
A bonfire at the foot of crosstown streets.
Panelling night with wainscotry of gold,
She ends each day in gusts of phaenix fire —
The flaming ramparts of her demi-world!

Mark all these things: her generous reckless moods,
Proud, spendthrift, swift, assured, and terrible;
And make interpretation of your own.
But just one caveat :
She is not always merely what she seems:
I'd like to have you see her as I do —
The greatest unwrit poem in the world.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.