Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
140. Fleet Street
 
By Arthur Adams
 
 
BENEATH this narrow jostling street,
  Unruffled by the noise of feet,
Like a slow organ-note I hear
The pulses of the great world beat.
 
Unseen beneath the city’s show        5
Through this aorta ever flow
The currents of the universe—
A thousand pulses throbbing low!
 
Unheard beneath the pavement’s din
Unknown magicians sit within        10
Dim caves, and weave life into words
On patient looms that spin and spin.
 
There, uninspired, yet with the dower
Of mightier mechanic power,
Some bent, obscure Euripides        15
Builds the loud drama of the hour!
 
There, from the gaping presses hurled,
A thousand voices, passion-whirled,
With throats of steel vociferate
The incessant story of the world!        20
 
So through this artery from age
To age the tides of passion rage,
The swift historians of each day
Flinging a world upon a page!
 
And then I pause and gaze my fill        25
Where cataracts of traffic spill
Their foam into the Circus. Lo!
Look up, the crown on Ludgate Hill!
 
Remote from all the city’s moods,
In high, untroubled solitudes,        30
Like an old Buddha swathed in dream,
St. Paul’s above the city broods!
 

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