Red Slippers

Amy Lowell

 

Red slippers in a shop-window; and outside in the street, flaws of gray, windy sleet!
 
Behind the polished glass the slippers hang in long threads of red, festooning from the ceiling like stalactites of blood, flooding the eyes of passers-by with dripping color, jamming their crimson reflections against the windows of cabs and tram-cars, screaming their claret and salmon into the teeth of the sleet, plopping their little round maroon lights upon the tops of umbrellas.

The row of white, sparkling shop-fronts is gashed and bleeding, it bleeds red slippers. They spout under the electric light, fluid and fluctuating, a hot rain—and freeze again to red slippers, myriadly multiplied in the mirror side of the window.

They balance upon arched insteps like springing bridges of crimson lacquer; they swing up over curved heels like whirling tanagers sucked in a wind-pocket; they flatten out, heelless, like July ponds, flared and burnished by red rockets.

Snap, snap, they are cracker sparks of scarlet in the white, monotonous block of shops.

They plunge the clangor of billions of vermilion trumpets into the crowd outside, and echo in faint rose over the pavement.

People hurry by, for these are only shoes, and in a window farther down is a big lotus bud of cardboard, whose petals open every few minutes and reveal a wax doll, with staring bead eyes and flaxen hair, lolling awkwardly in its flower chair.

One has often seen shoes, but whoever saw a cardboard lotus bud before?

The flaws of gray, windy sleet beat on the shop-window where there are only red slippers.

 

Poems by This Author

A London Thoroughfare. 2 A.M. by Amy Lowell
They have watered the street,
A Lover by Amy Lowell
If I could catch the green lantern of the firefly
Astigmatism by Amy Lowell
The Poet took his walking-stick
Autumn by Amy Lowell
They brought me a quilled, yellow dahlia
Carrefour by Amy Lowell
O You
Opal by Amy Lowell
You are ice and fire,
Poetry by Amy Lowell
Over the shop where silk is sold
Pyrotechnics by Amy Lowell
Our meeting was like the upward swish of a rocket
Spring Day [Bath] by Amy Lowell
The day is fresh-washed and fair
Summer by Amy Lowell
Some men there are who find in nature all
Superstition by Amy Lowell
I have painted a picture of a ghost
The Congressional Library [excerpt] by Amy Lowell
Where else in all America are we so symbolized
The Letter by Amy Lowell
Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper
The Taxi by Amy Lowell
When I go away from you
Vernal Equinox by Amy Lowell
The scent of hyacinths, like a pale mist, lies between me and my book


Further Reading

Poems and Shoes
Black Nikes
by Harryette Mullen
Derrick Poem (The Lost World)
by Terrance Hayes
My Shoes
by Charles Simic
New Shoes
by Honor Moore
Red Shoes
by Honor Moore
The European Shoe
by Michael Benedikt