Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
Washington Square
By James Oppenheim
 
STARLESS and still—
Who stopped this heart?
Who bound this city in a trance?
 
With open eyes the sleeping houses stare at the Park:
And among nude boughs the slumbering hanging moons are gazing:        5
And somnambulent drops of melting snow glide from the roofs and patter on the pave—
I in a dream draw the echoes of my footfall silvery sharp—
 
Sleep-walking city!
Who are the wide-eyed prowlers in the night?
What nightmare-ridden cars move through their own far thunder?        10
What living death of the wind rises, crackling the drowsy twigs?
 
In the enchantment of the ebb of life,
In the miracle of millions stretched in their rooms unconscious and breathing,
In the sleep of the broadcast people,
In the multitude of dreams rising from the houses,        15
I pause, frozen in a spell.
We sleep in the eternal arms of night:
We give ourselves, in the heart of peril,
To sheer unconsciousness:
Silently sliding through space, the huge globe turns.        20
 
I cannot go:
I dream that behind a window one wakes, a woman:
She is thinking of me.
 
 
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