Cinema Exit

Source: Richard Aldington, ‘Cinema Exit’, in Images Old and New (Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1916), p. 43 [orig. pub. as Images, 1910-1915, Poetry Bookshop, 1915)

Text:
After the click and whirr
Of the glimmering pictures,
The dry feeling in the eyes
As the sight follows the electric flickerings,
The banal sentimentality of the films,
The hushed concentration of the people,
The tinkling piano –
Suddenly,
A vast avalanch of greenish yellow light
Pours over the threshold;
White globes darting vertical rays spot the sombre buildings;
The violent gloom of the night
Battles with the radiance;
Swift figures, legs, skirts, white cheeks, hats
Flicker in oblique rays of dark and light.

Millions of human vermin
Swarm sweating
Along the night-arched cavernous roads.

(Happily rapid chemical processes
Will disintegrate them all.)

Comments: Richard Aldington (born Edward Godfree Aldington) (1892-1962) was a British poet, novelist and biographer. As a poet he was associated with the Imagist group. ‘Cinema Exit’ is one of a number of poems Aldington wrote at this time expressing disenchantment with city life.

Links: Copy at Hathi Trust

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