Here in city shadows, under the bells,
here between chimes and the strong hammering street
clinging, like swallows upon smithy walls,
ten feet of tiling and an acre of night
our own, we cannot feel how incomplete
how overhung how loose love is. A wing,
a brassière of tiled steel, holds our wall tight
- balcony, balcony, bearing the world's wrong.
Behind us, and in all these thousand cells
(dark houses blazing to a field of wheat)
food, colour, character (and on them falls
the same embracing lonely orange light)
- the day's intentions and its fragments meet:
and life becomes a centred intimate thing.
How can you prove them pitiful but right,
balcony, balcony, barring the world's wrong?
Enemy water out of strangers' wells
floods to the heart on tiny dagger feet:
a thousand pointless hearts: grief in the halls
where sad tomorrows build their stalagmite.
Around them image and emotion beat,
and the rock winces from the swell and sting:
is the flood safe, or only out of sight,
balcony, balcony, bridging the world's wrong?
For love is not what the dark chime foretells;
and there is no assurance in our sweet
self-behind-armour, as of animals;
no festival in all this flowering height.
Lift up your barrier, let us sit and eat;
(Love bade me welcome...) give us grace to sing:
balcony, balcony, bearing the world's wrong,
the city bears no music. But it might.