Evening and the flat land, Rich and sombre and always silent; The miles of fresh-plowed soil, Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness; The growing wheat, the growing weeds, The toiling horses, the tired men; The long empty roads, Sullen fires of sunset, fading, The eternal, unresponsive sky. Against all this, Youth, Flaming like the wild roses, Singing like the larks over the plowed fields, Flashing like a star out of the twilight; Youth with its insupportable sweetness, Its fierce necessity, Its sharp desire, Singing and singing, Out of the lips of silence, Out of the earthy dusk.
Can’st thou conjure a vanished morn of spring,
Or bid the ashes of the sunset glow
Again to redness? Are we strong to wring
From trodden grapes the juice drunk long ago?
Can leafy longings stir in Autumn's blood,
Or can I wear a pearl dissolved in wine,
Or go a-Maying in a winter wood,
Or paint with youth thy wasted cheek, or mine?
What bloom, then, shall abide, since ours hath sped?
Thou art more lost to me than they who dwell
In Egypt's sepulchres, long ages fled;
And would I touch—Ah me! I might as well
Covet the gold of Helen's vanished head,
Or kiss back Cleopatra from the dead!