By Howard Moss 1922–1987 Howard Moss
You watch the night like a material
Slowly being crammed into a tube of rooms;
It showers into gunshot, pepper, dew,
As if a hand had squeezed it at one end,
Is blank as innocence when daylight comes
Projecting sunlit patches on the wall
That fade. Too much is going on, too much
Of life, you say, for you to live alone
On top of an old tenement, on a train
That might start off sometime, but never does.
Your view is gone. Turn around, and boom!,
A park appears between two fixed ideas
Whose narrow aperture of sky in time
Will house the slums of 1989 . . .

Now New York is feigning its gray dark
London winter. Invisible uptown
Is out there somewhere, raining on its own.
Palmed in the dusty pane, a circle bares
A scene that seems reprinted from the past:
A man with a dog is walking very fast
Along a path among the stunted trees
Of the little square below. He disappears.

Howard Moss, “Someone” from New Selected Poems, published by Atheneum. Copyright © 1985 by Howard Moss. Reprinted by permission of Estate of Howard Moss.

Source: New Selected Poems (Atheneum Publishers, 1985)

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Poet Howard Moss 1922–1987

Subjects Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Howard  Moss


Howard Moss was the poetry editor of the New Yorker for almost forty years. In that influential capacity, this quiet, unassuming man was one of the key figures in American letters in the late twentieth century, boosting the careers of many young poets by publishing their work in one of the few mass circulation magazines which bought poetry and paid well for it. Writing in World Literature Today, Ashley Brown observed that "it . . .

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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