Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CITY SMOKE, by ABBIE FARWELL BROWN

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CITY SMOKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, the smoke of the city
Last Line: Over the city.
Subject(s): Pollution; Smoke

OH, the smoke of the city!
Pouring in columns black and thick;
Swooping, a nightmare bird of prey,
From a hideous eyrie of iron and brick,
Obscuring the day;
Sinister, greasy, noisome, vile,
Spoiling the delicate, fouling the pure,
Creeping like sorrowful sin or guile
Through tiniest cranny and lock secure.
The rosiest chamber reeks with its breath,
And the dens already besmirched with death.
It broods impartial, sullying all,
Palace, tenement, hovel and hall;
Beauty's ruin and Nature's ban,
Price of the fierce, packed struggle of man.
Grim smoke hovering without pity,
Over the city.

Oh, the smoke of the city!
Rising and rolling a magical stream,
Spreading and wavering higher and higher;
Bright with the opaline colors of dream,
A torrent of beauty, a cloud of desire.
Delicate gossamer rags float free,
Drifting into eternity,
Washed with radiance, purged and clean,
All-escaping, ethereal, new;
Vision of poets sublime, serene,
Etching the blue;
Life transfigured by hope again,
Prize of the dear, near loving of men.
Glorified smoke, like a halo of pity,
Over the city.

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