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The Second Life

The Second Life

Edwin Morgan

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July 3, 2010

But does every man feel like this at forty –

I mean it’s like Thomas Wolfe’s New York, his

heady light, the stunning plunging canyons, beauty –

pale stars winking hazy downtown quitting-time,

and the winter moon flooding the skyscrapers, northern –


an aspiring place, glory of the bridges, foghorns

are enormous messages, a looming mastery

that lays its hand on the young man’s bowels

until he feels that in the air, that rising spirit

all things are possible, he rises with it

until he feels that he can never die –

Can it be like this, and is this what it means

in Glasgow now, writing as the aircraft roar

over building sites, in this warm west light

by the daffodil banks that were never so crowded and lavish –

green May, and the slow great blocks rising

under yellow tower cranes, concrete and glass and steel

out of a dour rubble it was and barefoot children gone –

Is it only the slow stirring, a city’s renewed life

that stirs me, could it stir me so deeply

as May, but could May have stirred

what I feel of desire and strength

like as arm saluting a sun?
 
   

From the poetry collection, The Second Life (1968), Edwin Morgan. Edinburgh University Press. By permission of Carcanet Press Ltd.