Urban Colloquy

AT midnight, turning sharply round a corner,
I met a vision: high in the air there hung,
Between the looming banks of the narrow street,
Two shining faces, whose exalted orbs
Seemed to dispute the regency of heaven.
One was the moon’s and one the old clock-tower’s.
The clock’s face looked the ruddier and the rounder.
And yet I seemed to hear the pale moon mutter:
‘It was not always thus. ’T is scarce ten decades
Since I, that looked on swarming Nineveh,
Peered down the long stems of the Norway pine
Where now this rival flouts me; and for mortals,
These shores were peopled with gray wolves and gophers.’
And if the clock replied, ‘ Mile upon mile
No sign of aught but human habitation,’
The surly moon made answer, ‘Ay, but wait!’