a song of cities

by Theodosia Garrison

Image: Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger
Image: Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger

Babylon and Nineveh
Ephesus and Tyre,—
These were names to thrill us once,
Seeing, as we read,
Wall and gate and citadel,
Golden dome and spire,—
All the glory that youth sees
O’er the dust and dead.

Cities of the lordly names:
Sybaris, Damascus;
Doubtless, too, their little lads
Dreaming as we dreamed,
Visioned older cities still,
Far as ever theirs from us,
Cities that their Grandsires built
With words that glowed and gleamed.

Babylon and Nineveh,
Troy Town and Rome,
Little did we think one day,
Until we wandered far,
How dearer and more dreamed of
The city of our home,—
The commonplace, gray city
Where yet our treasures are.

Bagdad and Carthage
Sybaris, Damascus,
Babylon and Nineveh,
Troy Town and Rome:
You may hold my fancy still,
Great names and glorious;
But O, my commonplace, gray town,
‘Tis here my heart comes home.

Newark native Theodosia Garrison served as a judge of the 1916 poetry competition. The resulting volume of Newark Anniversary Poems included this contribution.

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