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More poems by Elizabeth BishopElizabeth Bishop | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by Elizabeth BishopBooks by Elizabeth Bishop

Love Lies Sleeping

Elizabeth Bishop

Earliest morning, switching all the tracks
that cross the sky from cinder star to star,
        coupling the ends of streets 
        to trains of light.

now draw us into daylight in our beds;
and clear away what presses on the brain:
        put out the neon shapes 
        that float and swell and glare

down the gray avenue between the eyes
in pinks and yellows, letters and twitching signs.
        Hang-over moons, wane, wane!
        From the window I see

an immense city, carefully revealed,
made delicate by over-workmanship,
        detail upon detail,
        cornice upon facade,

reaching up so languidly up into
a weak white sky, it seems to waver there.
        (Where it has slowly grown
        in skies of water-glass

from fused beads of iron and copper crystals,
the little chemical "garden" in a jar
        trembles and stands again,
        pale blue, blue-green, and brick.)

The sparrows hurriedly begin their play.
Then, in the West, "Boom!" and a cloud of smoke.
        "Boom!" and the exploding ball
        of blossom blooms again.

(And all the employees who work in a plants 
where such a sound says "Danger," or once said "Death,"
        turn in their sleep and feel
        the short hairs bristling

on backs of necks.) The cloud of smoke moves off.
A shirt is taken of a threadlike clothes-line.
        Along the street below
        the water-wagon comes

throwing its hissing, snowy fan across
peelings and newspapers.  The water dries
        light-dry, dark-wet, the pattern
        of the cool watermelon.

I hear the day-springs of the morning strike
from stony walls and halls and iron beds,
        scattered or grouped cascades,  
        alarms for the expected:

queer cupids of all persons getting up,
whose evening meal they will prepare all day,
        you will dine well
        on his heart, on his, and his,

so send them about your business affectionately,
dragging in the streets their unique loves.
        Scourge them with roses only,
        be light as helium,

for always to one, or several, morning comes
whose head has fallen over the edge of his bed,
        whose face is turned
        so that the image of

the city grows down into his open eyes
inverted and distorted.  No.  I mean
        distorted and revealed,
        if he sees it at all.

Added: 2 Mar 2002 | Last Read: 21 Oct 2018 12:13 PM | Viewed: 12868 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/3010/ | Viewed on 21 October 2018.
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