Meditations While Ascending the Park Place Escalator

When March comes in, with rhubarb stews
And Heaven exhibits softer blues,
I'll lay aside my chiding —
I'll open my window wide to-day
(Unanswered letters waft away)
I'll gaze on Woolworth's tower — hooray,
For when I see that pinnacle
I never can be cynical —
O Park Place escalator, steadily sliding!

Yes, when I see that pinnacle
I never can be cynical;
I'll use it as a binnacle
To steer me in my dream —
I'll visit haberdasheries
And have my lunch in hasheries
With strawberries and cream —
O Park Place escalator, follow the gleam!

You think I am mad...well, I don't know
(For telephone calls might make one so),
But when such pungent March-gusts blow
And the city lifts her impudent, wild
Summits, against clean blue profiled,
Then, though I know what can be said
Against her — Cruel, vain; and dead
To loveliness the hearts of men
(Say it, and say it yet again)
But still I hesitate to damn...
You think I'm mad — —
Perhaps I am.
All cities to the seeing eye
Are beautiful; there you descry
Men's miseries and competitions,
Their paradoxes and ambitions
Grown to their fullest dreadfulness —
All passions at their proud excess.
For students of the troubled heart
Cities are perfect works of art.
O Park Place escalator, run!
Carry your pilgrim toward the sun!

Here, in this living vast thesaurus
The whole of literature before us —
Richer than Shakespeare's folios
The actual drama burns and glows,
And even absurdity is the stuff
Of art, if it's absurd enough.
Here, in this great sky-pointing town
See how the wise man and the clown
Have built an earthly monument
Of such appalling huge extent
That hardly God could tear it down —
Out, poet, out! and bravely brood
The horrors of her magnitude.

What town so glamorous to be sung,
So potent to arouse the young
Anger and pride that feed on beauty —
O poets, poets, do your duty!
Because she is mad, how she does cry
For your particular sanity:
Her riant noons, divine with sun,
And then, ere night is quite begun
And ere the daylight faded quite
Above that gorge of gaudy light
Dimmed by the movies' frantic glare
A timid moon above Times Square!
Thus, gesturing to my Creator,
I left the Park Place escalator.
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