The winter evening settles down
     With smell of steaks in passageways.
     Six o'clock.
     The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
     And now a gusty shower wraps
     The grimy scraps
     Of withered leaves about your feet
     And newspapers from vacant lots;
     The showers beat
     On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
     And at the corner of the street
     A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
     And then the lighting of the lamps.


     The morning comes to consciousness
     Of faint stale smells of beer
     From the sawdust-trampled street
     With all its muddy feet that press
     To early coffee-stands.

     With the other masquerades
     That time resumes,
     One thinks of all the hands
     That are raising dingy shades
     In a thousand furnished rooms.


     You tossed a blanket from the bed,
     You lay upon your back, and waited;
     You dozed, and watched the night revealing
     The thousand sordid images
     Of which your soul was constituted;
     They flickered against the ceiling.
     And when all the world came back
     And the light crept up between the shutters,
     And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
     You had such a vision of the street
     As the street hardly understands;
     Sitting along the bed's edge, where
     You curled the papers from your hair,
     Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
     In the palms of both soiled hands.


     His soul stretched tight across the skies
     That fade behind a city block,
     Or trampled by insistent feet
     At four and five and six o'clock;
     And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
     And evening newspapers, and eyes
     Assured of certain certainties,
     The conscience of a blackened street
     Impatient to assume the world.

     I am moved by fancies that are curled
     Around these images, and cling:
     The notion of some infinitely gentle
     Infinitely suffering thing.

     Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
     The worlds revolve like ancient women
     Gathering fuel in vacant lots.


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Return to the T.S. Eliot library , or . . . Read the next poem; Rhapsody on a Windy Night

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