Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CONEY ISLAND BY NIGHT, by GUSTAV DAVIDSON



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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CONEY ISLAND BY NIGHT, by            
First Line: City of dreams, / I watch you from the ocean's edge tonight
Last Line: Forever and forever. ...
Subject(s): Coney Island, New York City; Dreams; Seashore; Nightmares; Beach; Coast; Shore


City of dreams,
I watch you from the ocean's edge tonight,
Thinking,
How like a queen of ancient Syria
You seem,
Standing beside the sea
Pale, magnificent, mysterious,
Throated with bands of color-wavering lights,
And girdled round in a zone of tumultuous jewels!

Ten thousand bidders of your purchasable charms
Swarm about you like madmen
Knowing not what they crave,
Yet asking,
In the beautiful upheaval of their souls,—
Asking that you give!
In unabating multitudes
They come,
Your restless lovers in the throng,
Like pilgrims to a violated shrine
Spurred on by rumors of vast spoil,
And fashioning
On the dimly-figured carpets of their minds
Orgies of splendid plundering!
From the tentacular city they come,
And from the strange places,
Seeking this night on your gorgeous bosom
The sweet, oblivious bourn
Of their soul's unresting tides ...

O City of Dreams,
Your spell is upon me now!
I watch you, and am lost
In the surge of your splendour and your mystery!
The waves,
Yellow and silver in the moonlight,
Beat remorselessly against the shore,
As though questioning in their solemn and incessant roll
The meaning of your spirit.
I read your answer,
City of Dreams,
Like a banner unfurled
In the midst of your blazing coronet of fires:
Only your splendid body
Have you given up to their frenzied importunings,
Feeling a pity for them in their human clamor;
But the flower and the wonder and the magic
Of your immaculate soul
You have kept from them
Remote, inviolate, and undiscoverable,
Forever and forever. ...





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