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They have watered the street, It shines in the glare of lamps, Cold, white lamps, And lies Like a slow-moving river, Barred with silver and black. Cabs go down it, One, And then another, Between them I hear the shuffling of feet. Tramps doze on the window-ledges, Night-walkers pass along the sidewalks. The city is squalid and sinister, With the silver-barred street in the midst, Slow-moving, A river leading nowhere. Opposite my window, The moon cuts, Clear and round, Through the plum-coloured night. She cannot light the city: It is too bright. It has white lamps, And glitters coldly. I stand in the window and watch the moon. She is thin and lustreless, But I love her. I know the moon, And this is an alien city.
During a career that spanned just over a dozen years, Amy Lowell (1874-1925) wrote and published over 650 poems, yet scholars cite Lowell’s tireless efforts to awaken American readers to contemporary trends in poetry as her more influential contribution to literary history. “Poet, propagandist, lecturer, translator, biographer, critic . . . her verve is almost as remarkable as her verse,” opined poet Louis Untermeyer in his 1923 work American Poetry since 1900. A collection of Lowell’s work, published posthumously as What’s O’Clock?, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. She was survived by her secretary, Ada Dwyer Russell, with whom she had a long-term relationship.