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Sept 22nd #NYC #Poem of the Day

(This one is good for Oyster Fest on Stone St this evening with a chance of rain...)

Posted: Sep 22, 2012 | 6:30 PM
by Jared Goldstein
Storm on Fifth Avenue

A sallow waiter brings me six huge oysters...
Gloom shutters up the sunset with a plaque
Of unpropitious twilight jagged asunder
By flashlight demonstrations.  Gee, what a peach
Of a climate! 
(Pardon slang: these sultry storms
Afflict me with neurosis: rumbling thunder
Shakes my belief in academic forms.)

An oyster-coloured atmospheric rumpus
Beats up to blot the sunken daylight's gildings.
Against the looming cloud-bank, ivory-pale,
Stand twenty-storied blocks of office-buildings.
Snatched upward on a gust, lost news-sheets sail
Forlorn in lone arena of mid-air;
Flapping like melancholy kites, they scare
My gaze, a note of wildness in the scene.

Out on the pattering side-walk, people hurry
For shelter, while the tempest swoops to scurry
Across to Brooklyn.  Bellying figures clutch
At wide-brimmed hats and bend to meet the weather,
Alarmed for fresh-worn silks and fluffed feather.
Then hissing deluge splashes down to beat
The darkly glistening flatness of the street.
Only the cars nose on through rain-lashed twilight:
Only the Sherman Statue, angel-guided,
Maintains its mock-heroic martial gesture.

A sallow waiter brings me beans and pork...
Outside there's fury in the firmament.
Ice-cream, of course, will follow; and I'm content.
O Babylon!  O Carthage!  O New York!

- Siegfried Sassoon  1886-1967
(NYC after World War I)


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