Ode on 30th Street Station
The station bears a silence old
And big with sound
That shimmers round
And ricochets from chandeliers of gold
But melts to tremblings as it comes to birth.
The hourly stutterings of earth
From trains that pass
Grow thin and die
Like slogans written on the sky.
Above, a clock with dusty glass
Keeps changeless time where eyes
Lose track of thread suspending
Great burnished lamps, whose ending
Is lost in dark and starless vaulted skies.
Small travelers below
Huddle on benches, pace the marble floor,
Or seek to stem the vertigo
Of palaces in shops that line
The edges of the station. More
From awe than hunger they will go
To eat, but, finishing, decline
Their voices lose all throat in air
Reverberant with silences.
The newsstand keepers bless
Their tiny roofs within the center
Of this strange temple place
Where gods of empty space
Draw penance from the travelers who enter.
Not space alone, but echoings
Live in these vaulted darkenings.
These miniature travelers might be
The same who passed a hundred years ago
And waited for the trains below.
The echoes of their discontents
Reach down from this dark ceiling and harass
Unwary visitors who pass:
For men make monuments
To set in stone their transciencies,
Then, awe-struck, seek for leas
Far from the noise of time and memories.