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.
 
Dawn in the City
By Charles deKay
 
    THE CITY slowly wakes:
    Her every chimney makes
Offering of smoke against the cool white skies.
    Slowly the morning shakes
    The lingering shadowy flakes        5
Of night from doors and windows, from the city’s eyes.
 
    A breath through heaven goes:
    Leaves of the pale sweet rose
Are strewn along the clouds of upper air.
    Healer of ancient woes,        10
    The palm of dawn bestows
Peace on the feverish brow, comfort on grim despair.
 
    Now the celestial fire
    Fingers the sunken spire,
Crocket by crocket swiftly creepeth down;        15
    Brushes the maze of wire,
    Dewy, electric lyre,
And with a silent hymn one moment fills the town.
 
    A sound of pattering hoofs
    Above the emergent roofs        20
And anxious bleatings tell the passing herd;
    Scared by the piteous droves
    A shoal of skurrying doves
Veering, around the island of the church has whirred.
 
    Soon through the smoky haze        25
    The park begins to raise
Its outlines clearer into daylit prose;
    Ever with fresh amaze
    The sleepless fountains praise
Morn that has gilt the city as it gilds the rose.        30
 
    High in the clear air
    The smoke now builds a stair
Leading to realms no wing of bird has found;
    Things are more foul, more fair;
    A distant clock somewhere        35
Strikes, and the dreamer starts at clear reverberant sound.
 
    Farther the tide of dark
    Drains from each square and park;
Here is a city fresh and new-create,
    Wondrous as though the ark        40
    Should once again disbark
On a remoulded world its safe and joyous freight.
 
    Ebbs all the dark, and now
    Life eddies to and fro
By pier and alley, street and avenue:        45
    The myriads stir below,
    As hives of coral grow—
Vaulted above, like them with a fresh sea of blue.
 
 
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