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