First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The City Lights

The city lights along the waterside Kindled serene as bless├Ęd candleshine. The fires of western heaven, far and wide, Rose like the reredos of a mighty shrine. Slow swung the odorous trees from side to side, Like censers, twining twilight mist for fume; And on the mountain, that high altar-tomb, The sun stood full of wine, blood-sanctified Soft, soft as angels mounting starry stairs The smoke upclomb to space; the while a wind Sung like an organ voicing many prayers. I, sliding beads, mine errors to rescind, Of slowly slipping tears, heard God, who cares, Ineffable God, give pardon that I sinned.


“The City Lights,” by Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918). The Estate of Wilfred Owen. The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy first published by Chatto & Windus, 1983. Preliminaries, introductory, editorial matter, manuscripts and fragments omitted. via First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed February 20, 2024,

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