Skid Row

Out of the depths have I cried, O Lord,
Where the lean heart preys on the hardened crust,
Where short wicks falter on candle-hopes
And winter whips at a patchwork trust.

From darkened doorways no welcome shines,
No promise waits up the broken stair,
And the coin that summons the night with wine
Buys a morning of sick despair.

Out of the depths have I cried in vain
And the still streets echo my lonely calls;
All the long night in the moaning wind
The bruised reed breaks and the sparrow falls.

From Blue Dusk: New & Selected Poems, 1951-2001