The Song Of City Traffic

I have heard the roar and clamor through the city's crowded ways
Of the never-ending pageant moving down the busy days--
Coaches, wagons, hearses, engines, clanging cars, and thundering drays!

I have watched them moving past me as the day began to dawn;
I have watched them creeping onward when the sun's last light was gone,
Like a serpent long and sinuous, gliding on, and on, and on.

Never, since I can remember, has this long procession ceased;
Rather has the surging torrent ever lengthened and increased,
And the human traffic changed not--prince and begger, fool and priest.

They have marched, and still are marching, through the city's wilderness--
O the sadness of their going who shall know or who shall guess?
Prophet, lady, sage, and merchant, cap-and-bells in wisdom's dress!

Ah! poor throngs of the great city, drops within that mighty stream,
When the night descends upon you and the streets are all agleam,
Of some distant hills of silence do your worn hearts never dream?

When the brazen voice of traffic and the loud call of the mart
Strangle all the hope within you, bruise your soul and break your heart,
Do you think of some far valley where life plays another part?

Sometimes in your startled slumbers, ere the morn comes up again,
Do you dream of some blue mountain or some wonderful green glen,
Where the silver voice of silence calls the weary world of men?

Or perhaps you dream, as I do, of the quiet woodland ways;
But the long procession lures you through the fleeting nights and days,
And you miss the old, old beauty for which still your spirit prays;

Miss it all, and, missing, weep not; join once more the bands of trade,
Join again the city's tumult, that long clamoring parade--
Join once more the foolish struggle which not God, but man, has made!

Losing love and losing friendship, making life but wounds and scars;
Missing beauty and calm rapture, and the shelter of the stars--
Poor, sad mortals, hearing only noise of wheels and clang of cars!

by Charles Hanson Towne

Other poems of CHARLES HANSON TOWNE (106)

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