by Eugene Lee-Hamilton
A Paris gutter of the good old times,
Black and putrescent in its stagnant bed,
Save where the shamble oozings fringe it red,
Or scaffold trickles, or nocturnal crimes.
It holds dropped gold; dead flowers from tropic climes;
Gems true and false, by midnight maskers shed;
Old pots of rouge; old broken phials that spread
Vague fumes of musk, with fumes from slums and slimes.
And everywhere, as glows the set of day,
There floats upon the winding fetid mire
The gorgeous iridescence of decay:
A wavy film of colour gold and fire
Trembles all through it as you pick your way,
And streaks of purple that are straight from Tyre.
Last updated September 13, 2017