A mile away the city lights –
The ancient, banking city, lit
With red and white and sure to fit
All today’s money – those clear sights
Which stand on towers stood to the South
One half the distance to my school,
They blink and glimmer like the pool
Reflecting stars from night’s broad mouth.
From here I see them every dusk
And every morning, if I rise,
They shine beneath plane-brightened sies,
They flood the morning like rich musk,
A smell of money? Or of time?
Perhaps of youth? But none I know,
The choices I took long ago
Forewent this wealth, undid this crime
To eat while others starved and cried,
I chose to eat the children’s bread
And rest upon a narrow bed
That barely rests me on my side.
But then it was no choice for me –
There never was an enchantment
About the interests money lent
So how can I claim virtue’s fee?
Our hearts each lead us where our minds
Can tell us that our calling dwells
And all the lies that rumour tells
Are as the rusted swords time finds.
As years pass, they seem less and less,
All worn by soil, by water, salt,
And distant tongues grow hard and halt
While living words grow and possess.