How Durable Is Love!
Long before the day. it all begins:
Merchants put forth their hearts and gaudy ads,
install new clerks, employ a Santa Claus
or two, or three, invite the choristers
to sing, In the starry aisles, of silent night,
and bid the stately organ swell the theme.
Outside the shining shopfronts, suddenly,
where flags not long ago were bravely streaming,
pines, a little thin. strike concrete root,
and at the most important intersections
the civic wires are looped in red and green.
With neon and with arc-light and with trumpets
joy in the streets is being bought and sold
long before Christmas. Yet though strange beasts
caged and uncaged and caged a thousand times
buffet and elbow in the elevators.
though arches ache through a myriad swollen hours,
though grey-green floods swirl thick in the till
still, when it comes at last. the day arrives
as clean, as innocent, as open-hearted
as if the money-changers had really been driven
out of the temple, as if the poor in spirit
had really inherited the earth. Ah little town,
how tough is joy! how durable is love!
Return to contents