The River of Light


Lights foam and bubble down the gentle grade:
Bright shine chop sueys and r├┤tisseries;
In pink translucence glowingly displayed
See camisole and stocking and chemise.
Delicatessen windows full of cheese —
Above, the chimes of church-bells toll and fade —
And then, from off some distant Palisade
That gluey savour on the Jersey breeze!

The burning bulbs, in green and white and red,
Spell out a Change of Program Sun., Wed., Fri .,
A clicking taxi spins with ruby spark.
There is a sense of poising near the head
Of some great flume of brightness, flowing by
To pour in gathering torrent through the dark.


The current quickens, and in golden flow
Hurries its flotsam downward through the night —
Here are the rapids where the undertow
Whirls endless motors in a gleaming flight.
From blazing tributaries, left and right,
Influent streams of blue and amber grow.
Columbus Circle eddies: all below
Is pouring flame, a gorge of broken light.

See how the burning river boils in spate,
Channelled by cliffs of insane jewellery,
Painting a rosy roof on cloudy air —
And just about ten minutes after eight,
Tossing a surf of colour to the sky
It bursts in cataracts upon Times Square!
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