A spring wind on the Bowery,
Blowing the fluff of night shelters
Off bedraggled garments,
And agitating the gutters, that eject little spirals of vapor
Like lewd growths.
Bare-legged children stamp in the puddles, splashing each other,
One - with a choir-boy's face
Twits me as I pass...
The word, like a muddied drop,
Seems to roll over and not out of
The bowed lips,
Yet dewy red
And sweetly immature.
People sniff the air with an upward look -
Even the mite of a girl
Who never plays...
Her mother smiles at her
With eyes like vacant lots
Rimming vistas of mean streets
And endless washing days...
Yet with sun on the lines
And a drying breeze.
The old candy woman
Shivers in the young wind.
Her eyes - littered with memories
Like ancient garrets,
Or dusty unaired rooms where someone died -
Ask nothing of the spring.
But a pale pink dream
Trembles about this young girl's body,
Draping it like a glowing aura.
She gloats in a mirror
Over her gaudy hat,
With its flower God never thought of...
And the dream, unrestrained,
Floats about the loins of a soldier,
Where it quivers a moment,
Warming to a crimson
Like the scarf of a toreador...
But the delicate gossamer breaks at his contact
And recoils to her in strands of shattered rose.