Soliloquy on the Poop

Now, as our spiry wedge of cliffs recedes,
And, for a moment, up the Broadway chine
(Like a deep axe-cut to the very root)
Your eye can pierce the forestry of stone
To the actual window, almost, where we talked
And you, not stranger long, were well-beloved —
What is your parting thought?

These men are mad, perhaps your fancy runs?
Caught in that general and excessive haste,
Panic, anxiety, acceleration
That strains the varsal world;
Caught in their lofty gold-and-gimcrack mad-house;
Or, childish rajahs of a new Golconda
Riding their giddy city, a gilded howdah
Endorsed upon the elephantine orb.

Perhaps you brood: the fellows must be humoured,
They have the wild and cunning force of madmen
And terrible strength at will.
Yet not quite that (beshrew me!) is your vale .
Already, I could see, you truly loved her
And knew behind her riotous infection
Astonishing brave gust.
I think it's true
She has already sickened one stage further
Than any other town, in this strange fever
Men must control and medicine, or fail.
But here's the crux: how much of what one sees
Is really part of her? how much mere reflex
Of the beholder's eye and way of thought?
No glib poetic generalities
Will serve to annotate such unco scenes.
A city where by gorgeous accident
Men were encinct with beauty, but hardly knew it;
Glutted with all perfected toys of life
But life itself, their only only treasure,
Ran meagre, hasty, improvised, and thin.
Beauty? Ambiguous word, too cheaply flourished —
Beauty is where life moves in quietness,
Tacit agreement in unselfish aims:
Where trivial things are recognized as trivial,
And silence precedes speech. — Or other beauty,
As where a man's whole heart's in conflagration,
Ruddily painting all the neighbourhood:
Then, with true urchin zest, from unscorched vantage,
The observer claps. Oh, see the pretty fire!

Well...You have seen our Earthly Paradox,
Our Canaanitish Promissory Land
Where strong men, yipping freedom, gyve them selves.
And you do well, though wistful the sternward gaze,
To seek your peace and calmly think it over.
Aye: in one mood I'm tempted most to quote
One stanza from a very noble poem —
(I'll write one line, and you will know the rest)
" But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly! "

Yet that's misleading. I'm no ironist.
We, not wing-footed casuals like yourself,
Live with her daily, climb her jag sierras,
Treading on golden air. Here's an arena
For poets unafraid! For though she maces
Soft wits to pudding, brittle wits to powder,
There must and shall emerge some tougher scald
Whose words are sharply struck to bear abrasion,
Fiery purged to rise above the slag.
And we, like pelicans, from sore-tweaked bosoms
Feather a nest for some great egg of song!

So here she is, a pricklejoy for poets:
They turn and warm her in dissolvent thought,
Polish or chip an edge, or knurl an angle
To see how she'll sit easiest in the mind.
Make no mistake: theirs is a happy fortune:
Among her hugeous perpendiculars
(Great lines of verse, up-ended and unrhymed)
They live like commas in a perfect poem.

And now you see her jutting typescript fade:
The rough draft of the most inflaming poem
That man has ever dreamed.
If madmen love their madhouse, it may be
All driven men may learn to love their earth
And honour, not deface it.
Don't forget
The Woolworth and those other mighty lines
Now dipping backward in a mist of pearl.
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