The Night City

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BY W. S. GRAHAM

Unmet at Euston in a dream
Of London under Turner’s steam
Misting the iron gantries, I
Found myself running away
From Scotland into the golden city.
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I ran down Gray’s Inn Road and ran
Till I was under a black bridge.
This was me at nineteen
Late at night arriving between
The buildings of the City of London.
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And the I (O I have fallen down)
Fell in my dream beside the Bank
Of England’s wall to be, me
With my money belt of Northern ice.
I found Eliot and he said yes
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And sprang into a Holmes cab.
Boswell passed me in the fog
Going to visit Whistler who
Was with John Donne who had just seen
Paul Potts shouting on Soho Green.
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Midnight. I hear the moon
Light chiming on St Paul’s.
The City is empty. Night
Watchmen are drinking their tea,
The Fire had burnt out.
The Plague’s pits had closed
And gone into literature.
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Between the big buildings
I sat like a flea crouched
In the stopped works of a watch.

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