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Love Lies Sleeping - Poem by Elizabeth Bishop (Elizabeth Bishop)

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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. Elizabeth Bishop

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