London 1890

victorian london

I have this vision as I fall asleep at night,
Of London, 1890—dark and moonless,
Gas lamps piercing through dense fog
To doors that line up in an endless row—
The rigid order of the middle class;
And some within find solace in a hidden
Dorian Gray, or opium, or now and then a whore.
The air perfumed with stifled sobs;
A woman’s hand upon the latch.
Of sickly childhoods that end in death
On over-pillowed beds or muddy trenches
In the war to come. Where raindrops break
Upon the stony house as furtive eyes
Peer out from muslin drapes into the dark.

James Hamby

If you have any thoughts on this poem, James Hamby would be pleased to hear them.