At a Movie Theatre

Source: Christopher Morley, ‘At a Movie Theatre’, in Chimneysmoke (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1917), pp. 161-162

Text: How well he spoke who coined the phrase
The picture palace! Aye, in sooth
A palace, where men’s weary days
Are crowned with kingliness of youth.

Strange palace! Crowded, airless, dim,
Where toes are trod and strained eyes smart,
We watch a wand of brightness limn
The old heroics of the heart.

Romance again hath us in thrall
And Love is sweet and always true,
And in the darkness of the hall
Hands clasp — as they were meant to do.

Remote from peevish joys and ills
Our souls, pro tem, are purged and free:
We see the sun on western hills,
The crumbling tumult of the sea.

We are the blond that maidens crave,
Well balanced at a dozen banks;
By sleight of hand we haste to save
A brown-eyed life, nor stay for thanks.

Alas, perhaps our instinct feels
Life is not all it might have been,
So we applaud fantastic reels
Of shadow, cast upon a screen!

Comments: Christopher Morley (1890-1957) was an American journalist, novelist, poet and essayist of prolific output.

Links: Copy at Hathi Trust

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