"... past the circuit of the lamp's thin flame ..."
-Hart Crane, from The Bridge
It is good, late at night, to see
The quietened city nestled in its rings
And aureoles of circumradiance -
Thousands of vaporlamps spread silently
Against the dark; flung out to spiral wings
To left and right; glazed with a haze-faience
Like a whorled galaxy thrust on the sight
Of astronauts' arcanum pendant spatial flight.
Entered, the inside-out view compasses,
Like dazzleclear night skies, the viewing eye.
Tiered spangling sparkles, glittering in masses
Or sprinkle-scattered through the voids, swing high,
Or far, or near, forming veined hyalines
Of faceted horizons or unplaned
Black distances stretched to where dragons be:
Where starfire ends upon the endless astral sea.
In Rome two thousand years ago the view
At three a.m. from the broad Esquiline
Must have displayed a like galactic blaze
Within the pressing dark; by a late few
Beheld in awe. In that Augustan maze
Augustus would have muffed Ovid's day-din
With dreams, while Cicero's atrium glowed
With deathly trespass lamps beside the Imperial Road.
Light fuses San Antonian and Roman nights
(Milleniums between them!) and extends
One cause, merged in Promethean guardian lights
That fend Night's smutch and secret darks which
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