Memorandum for a Subway Station

SEE her, then — this perfect perfect city,
This wild fantasia of an artist’s dream,
And who has time for dreaming? Throb, throb, throb . . .
I tell you, there’s a madness in her method
That creeps into the soul. First, just a grain,
A little grain of innocent harmless haste
And brisk ambition. Then it swells and rots,
Puts down its fiery tendrils in the mind,
Feeds on a thousand trivials and palavers
Until the inward precious pulse of thought
Is bagged and netted in a lace of nerves;
Until the generous essence, life itself,
This grave slow Time that ripples through our days,
Is something we must clutch at, fever for.
Magnificent damnation! Faster, faster,
Herded in mobs and capering from destruction,
With yells and mirth and talking, always talking,
We’re scouting to and fro.
And then the telephones go ring, ring, ring,
The eager spirit answers Hurry, Hurry!
Against the naked fury of the brain
The clock is beating faster, tick-tick-tick —
You ‘ll tick yourselves to death.