This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, October 13, 2006


Title placard, Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927

The crystal city spreads before my gaze
Its glass-clad spires above the summer haze;
They rise as if to clutch the crisscrossed sky
Where contrails weave a lofty tapestry
Depicting endless motion to and fro–
The pinnacles of pointless come and go.
And there below, the glinting cars parade
In grand battalions by an esplanade
That limns a shore, and farther still, a bay
With heeling sailboats charging through the spray,
Careening on, a salty cavalry
Like knights of some aquatic chivalry
All jousting 'round a foam-flecked azure field,
Each sprit a lance, each sail a blazoned shield.

Scene, Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927

Along the asphalt boulevards and streets
The blaring autos march, and none retreats
As phalanx meeting phalanx at each cross
Must have its futile way, or count it loss.
And now the dipping sun calls out the hordes
Who vainly seek ephemeral rewards,
To bee-like buzz about the corporate hives
And trade their light for simulated lives.
Disgorging by the squad and by platoon
They spill into the fading afternoon
Abandoning the towers' glass and chrome
To squander precious hours driving home.

Scene, Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927

Now night unfolds her blanket; stars appear
But pale against the city's atmosphere
Of glowing buildings, every window lit
And every street ablaze, as would befit
Triumphal dramas of a bygone age,
Now recreated on the present stage.
The snaking lights along each motorway
Press through the night until the breaking day
Burns off the morning fog and calls again
The myriads of stoic businessmen
Who stream into the towers to resume
The jobs that bite by bite their lives consume.

New Tower of Babel, Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927

This vision now unfolds so stark before
My dreamlit eyes, as opening, a door
Reveals forbidden glimpses: first a thrill
To snatch away the breath–and then a chill.
For now the city's secret will be told,
That palls the scene and leaves the marrow cold.
The inner eye of thought now peels the skin,
Revealing what lies sinister within
The glitter of the chromium and steel:
A modern monster hungry for its meal,
Behind the mirrored walls of glass concealed–
Now in the half light of my spell revealed.
And there I see the city: a machine
That grinds down dreams of men by dull routine:
From industry to greed, and love to lust,
Until at last their souls are crushed to dust.

© 2006 Jeffrey Hull


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