Amy Levy

(1861 - 10 September 1889 / London)

A March Day In London - Poem by Amy Levy

The east wind blows in the street to-day;
The sky is blue, yet the town looks grey.
'Tis the wind of ice, the wind of fire,
Of cold despair and of hot desire,
Which chills the flesh to aches and pains,
And sends a fever through all the veins.

From end to end, with aimless feet,
All day long have I paced the street.
My limbs are weary, but in my breast
Stirs the goad of a mad unrest.
I would give anything to stay
The little wheel that turns in my brain;
The little wheel that turns all day,
That turns all night with might and main.

What is the thing I fear, and why?
Nay, but the world is all awry--
The wind's in the east, the sun's in the sky.
The gas-lamps gleam in a golden line;
The ruby lights of the hansoms shine,
Glance, and flicker like fire-flies bright;
The wind has fallen with the night,
And once again the town seems fair
Thwart the mist that hangs i' the air.

And o'er, at last, my spirit steals
A weary peace ; peace that conceals
Within its inner depths the grain
Of hopes that yet shall flower again.


Comments about A March Day In London by Amy Levy

  • Sukanta Mohapatra Sukanta Mohapatra (12/9/2015 11:49:00 PM)

    Lovely composition. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Terry Craddock Terry Craddock (12/9/2015 8:00:00 PM)

    'The wind's in the east, the sun's in the sky.
    The gas-lamps gleam in a golden line;
    The ruby lights of the hansoms shine,
    Glance, and flicker like fire-flies bright; '


    Interesting lines embedded with a glimpse into a past age!

    'From end to end, with aimless feet,
    All day long have I paced the street.'

    I wonder why she spent such a tiring day out, without identifying the exact reason, the lines

    'My limbs are weary, but in my breast
    Stirs the goad of a mad unrest.'

    These lines remind of Edgar Alan Poe, and it seems all is not well with the 'little wheel' turning in her brain. The first stanza seems to indicate a missed meeting, the tempest of love, with the blue sky yet she if the lover, sees a grey town; with the word images of 'the wind of ice' and 'cold despair' contrasted with 'wind of fire' and 'hot desire'.

    'The sky is blue, yet the town looks grey.
    'Tis the wind of ice, the wind of fire,
    Of cold despair and of hot desire,
    Which chills the flesh to aches and pains,
    And sends a fever through all the veins.'

    The second stanza is images of tired exhaustion, yet the weary limbs are dominated by the heart, or a breast of mad unrest, and the fifth line in this stanza 'I would give anything to stay', because a wheel of love is turning dominating her thoughts and emotions day and night?

    The third stanza contains beautiful romantic images of night and suddenly despite her exhaustion, the grey looking town seems fair with mist in the air. Mist can hide a lover's meeting and 'And o'er, at last, my spirit steals
    A weary peace; peace that conceals' seems to hint at such a meeting.

    The last two lines still in the mist 'Within its inner depths the grain/ Of hopes that yet shall flower again' indicates that with a hidden meeting the lovers have reclaimed a measure of hope in their future. One interesting reading among many, what is unsaid hides behind the lines with ambiguous hints which intrigue. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda Anil Kumar Panda (12/9/2015 8:58:00 AM)

    So beautifully composed. Liked it. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda Anil Kumar Panda (12/9/2015 8:55:00 AM)

    Beautiful poetry. Enjoyed. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (12/9/2015 8:22:00 AM)

    Superb lines, amusing
    Glance, and flicker like fire-flies bright;
    The wind has fallen with the night,
    And once again the town seems fair
    Thwart the mist that hangs i' the air. (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (12/9/2015 8:10:00 AM)

    Amy Levy's life is a story of sadness. Apparently she fell in love with more than one other girl before she committed suicide. Read her poem 'To Lallie (Outside The British Museum.) ' It's much better than this one and will give you an idea of her mindset. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Plotz Thomas Plotz (12/9/2015 7:59:00 AM)

    'Tis the wind of ice, the wind of fire, Of cold despair and of hot desire, Which chills the flesh to aches and pains,
    And sends a fever through all the veins
    Once again the town seems fair. - you have some good lines here. Thanks (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (12/9/2015 3:47:00 AM)

    Of hot desire! With the muse of an occasion. Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • Alem Hailu G/kristos Alem Hailu G/kristos (12/9/2015 3:05:00 AM)

    Within its inner depths the grain
    Of hopes that yet shall flower again
    Yes there is hope from the debries of hopelessness. (Report) Reply

  • Manonton Dalan (12/9/2015 2:47:00 AM)

    nice............................ (Report) Reply

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (12/9/2015 2:41:00 AM)

    Beautiful narration of nature prevailing in London during March including blowing east winds and the poetess's aimless walk hours together. The rhyme of the poem is superb. Enjoyed the poem. Thanks for sharing.10 points. (Report) Reply

  • G. Akanji Olaniyi G. Akanji Olaniyi (12/9/2015 2:15:00 AM)

    The rhyming scheme put paid to the delivery of the message. This is lovely. (Report) Reply

  • A. Madhavan (12/9/2015 1:13:00 AM)

    I have not heard of Amy Levy in my reading of many poetry collections and anthologies.
    Her biography in the PH web-site is very interesting. She has described the London scenes
    of the 19th century well. Her verse is patterned and conventional, but worth this recall.
    I wonder what she made of her association with Karl Marx's family.
    Sad she was so depressed and died young. (Report) Reply

Read all 13 comments »




Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: wind, peace, fire, despair, flower, sky, london, fear, night, sun, world, hope



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



[Hata Bildir]