There’s something magical about a city illuminated at night. The bright lights. The dazzling skyline reaches into the heavens. Flashes of color and the buzz of activity promise excitement and adventure. There’s nothing quite like it.
And then there’s the hidden foul of night. Mysterious and low are the corners in the city. In the poem “New York at Night, ” Amy Lowell opens our eyes and senses to the city that never sleeps:
O Night! Whose soothing presence brings
The quiet shining of the stars.
O Night! Whose cloak of darkness clings
So intimately close that scars
Are hid from our own eyes. Beggars
By day, our wealth is having night
To burn our souls before altars
Dim and tree-shadowed, where the light
Is shed from a young moon, mysteriously bright.
Where art thou hiding, where thy peace?
This is the hour, but thou art not.
Will waking tumult never cease?
Hast thou thy votary forgot?
Nature forsakes this man-begot
And festering wilderness, and now
The long still hours are here, no jot
Of dear communing do I know;
Instead the glaring, man-filled city groans below!
Write a poem about a city at night. Write about its beauty or its beastly side. You can even personify your city. Share it with us in the comment section below.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a poem from Andrew we enjoyed:
Stillness. A lake enshrined by reeds.
The slow buzz of a road beside, but
It is small. A drone that blends with
Insect hums. The sun falls on the water
And reveals the diamond-hue within.
Somewhere, in steel and chrome, the same
Happens on beams stretched out to heaven.
No one sees. Nobody cares to stop, to slow;
Appreciate the glint of sun as it strikes just so.
How lonely. Sad, disjointed and alone.
In cities, grass grows greenly in its squares
Appointed by a chain-weighed man of town
Whose job involves the management of life,
And whose reward seems nothing but a frown.
And there it gleams as fresh as in the wild
But no one sees. Here in the country, I can sit
And see the world go by in increments.
Not in a rush, for life is meant to savour
And not for souring with your haste. We see,
Back here, the beauty in the water.
Photo by Martin Fisch. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland