Christopher Pearse Cranch
The Old Apple-Woman - Poem by Christopher Pearse Cranch
A Broadway Lyric
SHE sits by the side of a turbulent stream
That rushes and rolls forever
Up and down like a weary dream
In the trance of a burning fever.
Up and down through the long Broadway
It flows with its tiresome paces —
Down and up through the noisy day,
A river of feet and of faces.
Seldom a drop of that river's spray
Touches her withered features;
Yet still she sits there day by day
In the throng of her fellow-creatures.
Apples and cakes and candy to sell,
Daily before her lying.
The ragged newsboys know her well —
The rich never think of buying.
Year in, year out, in her dingy shawl
The wind and the rain she weathers,
Patient and mute at her little stall;
But few are the coppers she gathers.
Still eddies the crowd intent on gain.
Each for himself is striving
With selfish heart and seething brain —
An endless hurry and driving.
The loud carts rattle in thunder and dust;
Gay Fashion sweeps by in its coaches.
With a vacant stare she mumbles her crust,
She is past complaints and reproaches.
Still new faces and still new feet —
The same yet changing forever;
They jostle along through the weary street,
The waves of the human river.
Withered and dry like a leafless bush
That clings to the bank of a torrent,
Year in, year out, in the whirl and the rush,
She sits, of the city's current.
The shrubs of the garden will blossom again
Though far from the flowing river;
But the spring returns to her in vain —
Its bloom has nothing to give her.
Yet in her heart there buds the hope
Of a Father's love and pity;
For her the clouded skies shall ope,
And the gates of a heavenly city.
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