TRAFALGAR SQUARE - James Joseph Sylvester Poems

 
 

Poems » james joseph sylvester » trafalgar square

TRAFALGAR SQUARE

These verses have I pilfered like a bee
Out of a letter from my C. C. C.
    In London, showing what befell him there,
With other things, of interest to me

One page described a night in open air
He spent last summer in Trafalgar Square,
    With men and women who by want are driven
Thither for lodging, when the nights are fair.

No roof there is between their heads and heaven,
No warmth but what by ragged clothes is given,
    No comfort but the company of those
Who with despair, like them, have vainly striven.

On benches there uneasily they doze,
Snatching brief morsels of a poor repose,
    And if through weariness they might sleep sound,
Their eyes must open almost ere they close.

With even tramp upon the paven ground,
Twice every hour the night patrol comes round
    To clear these wretches off, who may not keep
The miserable couches they have found.

Yet the stern shepherds of the poor black sheep
Will soften when they see a woman weep.
    There was a mother there who strove in vain,
With sobs, to hush a starving child to sleep.

And through the night which took so long to wane,
He saw sad sufferers relieving pain,
    And daughters of iniquity and scorn
Performing deeds which God will not disdain.

There was a girl, forlorn of the forlorn,
Whose dress was white, but draggled, soiled, and torn,
    Who wandered like a ghost without a home,
She spoke to him before the day was born.

She, who all night, when spoken to, was dumb,
Earning dislike from most, abuse from some,
    Now asked the hour, and when he told her `Two,'
Wailed, `O my God, will daylight never come?'

Yes, it will come, and change the sky anew
From star-besprinkled black to sunlit blue,
    And bring sweet thoughts and innocent desires
To countless girls. What will it bring to you?