Thompson's Lunch Room - Grand Central Station

by Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

Study in Whites

Wax-white --

Floor, ceiling, walls.

Ivory shadows

Over the pavement

Polished to cream surfaces

By constant sweeping.

The big room is coloured like the petals

Of a great magnolia,

And has a patina

Of flower bloom

Which makes it shine dimly

Under the electric lamps.

Chairs are ranged in rows

Like sepia seeds

Waiting fulfilment.

The chalk-white spot of a cook's cap

Moves unglossily against the vaguely bright wall --

Dull chalk-white striking the retina like a blow

Through the wavering uncertainty of steam.

Vitreous-white of glasses with green reflections,

Ice-green carboys, shifting -- greener, bluer -- with the jar of

moving water.

Jagged green-white bowls of pressed glass

Rearing snow-peaks of chipped sugar

Above the lighthouse-shaped castors

Of grey pepper and grey-white salt.

Grey-white placards: "Oyster Stew, Cornbeef Hash, Frankfurters":

Marble slabs veined with words in meandering lines.

Dropping on the white counter like horn notes

Through a web of violins,

The flat yellow lights of oranges,

The cube-red splashes of apples,

In high plated `epergnes'.

The electric clock jerks every half-minute:

"Coming! -- Past!"

"Three beef-steaks and a chicken-pie,"

Bawled through a slide while the clock jerks heavily.

A man carries a china mug of coffee to a distant chair.

Two rice puddings and a salmon salad

Are pushed over the counter;

The unfulfilled chairs open to receive them.

A spoon falls upon the floor with the impact of metal striking stone,

And the sound throws across the room

Sharp, invisible zigzags

Of silver.


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