It Was Over

Something expired. At the turning,
A spirit was gone. That which was
Turned to sepia: high collars, punting,
Waxed mustaches, parasols.

From bridges, children stared in the river
And felt themselves, also, halved.
Old manners were patently over.
New manners had not yet arrived.

The old, without waiting to speak
Their parting lines in the act,
Learned to exit the way of pipe-smoke.
Uttered nothing. Utter tact.

Steamy ghosts rose from horses'
Maws as they champed at their bits.
The ladies reached for their purses.
The gentlemen tipped their hats.