Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shadwell Stair

Shadwell is Thomas Jefferson's
father's estate, now notable as
a filling station at a glossy
planned unit development of er-
satz gentry fantasy. It is also 
the name of something important.

   I am the ghost of Shadwell Stair.
   Along the wharves by the water-house,
   And through the dripping slaughter-house,
   I am the shadow that walks there.

   Yet I have flesh both firm and cool,
   And eyes tumultuous as the gems
   Of moons and lamps in the lapping Thames
   When dusk sails wavering down the pool.

   Shuddering the purple street-arc burns
   Where I watch always; from the banks
   Dolorously the shipping clanks,
   And after me a strange tide turns.

   I walk till the stars of London wane
   And dawn creeps up the Shadwell Stair.
   But when the crowing sirens blare
   I wish another ghost am lain.

Wilfred Owen
The Collected Poems
  of Wilfred Owen
    Shadwell Stair
C. Day Lewis, editor
Chatto & Windus, 1963©

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