In a gutter between wind-bitten glaciers,
A little man stands, blowing upon a toy.
Is he not mad—is he not audacious,
In such a curious place, in such employ?
The wind’s blue insult swells upon his face.
A whisking hunger, like a mouse at bay,
Has cowed his eyes which, vaguely in disgrace,
Bear up the heavy menace of Broadway.
A dim presentiment of an awful hoax
Scalded his heart and simmered to his feet—
The secret jest that counted off the strokes
Of hours men spent at various tasks secrete,
That made of some of them quite obvious jokes,
And saved for others labors more discreet.