La Vie De Bohéme

by

Amy Lowell


Alone, I whet my soul against the keen

Unwrinkled sky, with its long stretching blue.

I polish it with sunlight and pale dew,

And damascene it with young blowing leaves.

Into the handle of my life I set

Sprigs of mignonette

And periwinkle,

Twisted into sheaves.

The colors laugh and twinkle.

Twined bands of roadways, liquid in the sheen

Of street lamps and the ruby shine of cabs,

Glisten for my delight all down its length;

And there are sudden sparks

Of morning ripplings over tree-fluttered pools.

My soul is fretted full of gleams and darks,

Pulsing and still.

Smooth-edged, untarnished, girded in my soul

I walk the world.


But in its narrow alleys,

The low-hung dust-thick valleys

Where the mob shuffles its empty tread,

My soul is blunted against dullard wits,

Smeared with sick juices,

Nicked impotent for other than low uses.

Its arabesques and sparkling subtleties

Crusted to grey, and all its changing surfaces

Spread with unpalpitant monotonies.


I re-create myself upon the polished sky:

A honing-strop above converging roofs.

The patterns show again, like buried proofs

Of old, lost empires bursting on the eye

In hieroglyphed and graven splendor.

The whirling winds brush past my head,

And prodigal once more, a reckless spender

Of disregarded beauty, a defender

Of undesired faiths,

I walk the world.



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