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.
 
The Switch Yard
By John Curtis Underwood
 
OUT of the glimmer of arc lights and spaces of shade,
Far on the frontier the city has won from the dark,
Rails in the moonlight in ribbons of silver are laid.
Eyes that are watchful the loom of the switch yard shall mark,
Ears that are keen to its music shall hark.        5
 
Red, green, and gold are the signals that mark the design.
Black is the ground where the work of the weaver is spread.
Bright in the night is the glittering length of the line,
Swiftly and strongly and surely the shuttles are sped
Bringing and braiding and breaking the thread.        10
 
Clicking of switches and resonant rolling of wheels
Mix in the midnight with stifled escape of the steam.
Down the long siding a shadowed shape silently steals,
Sudden it checks; and the gride of the brakes is a scream,
The sound of a rent in the stuff of the dream.        15
 
Stars in their courses in switch yards of uttermost space,
Thrills in the ether that galaxies, systems, obey
Meshes immortal of motion and matter to trace;
Feel as they reel and they race down Heaven’s permanent way
Past the tall signal tower holding the void in survey.        20
 
 
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