Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE STREET OF THE MANY LITTLE LOVERS, by MAXWELL STRUTHERS BURT



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THE STREET OF THE MANY LITTLE LOVERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The gaunt gray street goes up the hill, over the hill / and down
Last Line: But love walks there with weary eyes and mudbedraggled gown.
Alternate Author Name(s): Burt, Struthers
Subject(s): Love; Lust; Man-woman Relationships; Streets; Male-female Relations; Avenues


THE gaunt gray street goes up the hill, over the hill and down,
At night it lies a scar of light across the pallid town
And Jezebel meets Dives there, Madonna walks with clown.

All day the paths are troublous with those who sell and buy,
All day the air is murmurous, till dusk droops from the sky,
Then passing strange the quiet change where the whispering shadows lie.

For like a brood of timid moth, black-winged and white of face,
From hidden door and byway forth, the lovers of the place
Flit two by two their stale day through, to win an hour of grace.

With red, cruel lips that stab the dark, pale Circe plies her trade.
Lust of the night is swift and stark, but youth walks unafraid,
Strolling there, with virginal air, young lovers in the shade.

Pale little lovers, drab and dim, beneath the white lights' glare;
Man in the travesty of Him and girl of stupid stare;
Yet all the dusk is tremulous with inarticulate prayer.

Aye, up and up the prayers arise, on fetid breezes blown,
Up to the utter naked skies where a great star swings alone,
And small desires build flickering fires before the darkling throne.

Whisper adown the languid air that stirs the sick, stale heat,
Where love walks cannot walk despair, though love has leaden feet,
For above the light is the quiet night where his wings are wont to beat.

"We would not know the ways, O Lord, of wonder and desire.
What could we make of still, sweet days, or nights of rose and fire?
Dawn and the dew are meant for few, for the poor, dead flowers in the mire."

"A little surcease now and then, fuel and clothes and bread,
Children, that we may rest us when the palsy nods our head,
And in the end enough to spend on a coffin for our dead."

Drab-souled, who scarcely know ye pray, far less the grave import,
Ye cannot feel beyond a day, you poor of man's disport!
Yet every soul, I take, seeks dole of joy in some small sort.

Shadows that drift across the night, woof and warp and loom,
Be glad of even briefest light in the crowded street of doom;
Would ye fill for aye with your loves the way in a world that is scant for room?

The gaunt gray street goes up the hill, over the hill and down,
At night it lies a scar of light across the restless town,
But love walks there with weary eyes and mudbedraggled gown.





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