Robert Laurence Binyon

(1869-1943 / England)

The Golden Gallery At Saint Paul’s - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

The Golden Gallery lifts its aery crown
O'er dome and pinnacle: there I leaned and gazed.
Is this indeed my own familiar town,
This busy dream? Beneath me spreading hazed
In distance large it lay, nor nothing broke
Its mapped immensity. Golden and iron--brown,
The stagnant smoke
Hung coiling above dense roofs and steeples dim.
The river, a serpent pale, my wandering eye
Lightened; but houses pressed to his silver brim.
With charging clouds the sky
Broad shadows threw. And now in a sudden shower
A veil sweeps toward me; violent drops fall hard:
Then softly the sun returns on chimney and tower,
And the river flashes, barred
With shadowy arches; warm the wet roofs shine,
And the city is stricken with light from clouds aglow,
Uplifting in dazzling line
O'er valleys of ashy blue, their wrinkled snow.
I leaned and gazed: but into my gazing eyes
Entered a sharp desire, a strange distress.
East I looked, where the foreign masts arise
In rough sea--breathing reaches of broad access;
And North to the hills, and South to the golden haze,
But nowhere found satisfaction more.
Beneath me, the populous ways
Muttered; but idly vast their troubled roar
Went up; I heard no longer: before me rose
Pale as, at morning, mist from autumn streams,
The longing of men made visible, helpless woes,
Fountains of love wasted, and trampled dreams

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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