And here face down beneath the sun And here upon earth's noonward height To feel the always coming on The always rising of the night: To feel creep up the curving east The earthy chill of dusk and slow Upon those under lands the vast And ever climbing shadow grow And strange at Ecbatan the trees Take leaf by leaf the evening strange The flooding dark about their knees The mountains over Persia change And now at Kermanshah the gate Dark empty and the withered grass And through the twilight now the late Few travelers in the westward pass And Baghdad darken and the bridge Across the silent river gone And through Arabia the edge Of evening widen and steal on And deepen on Palmyra's street The wheel rut in the ruined stone And Lebanon fade out and Crete high through the clouds and overblown And over Sicily the air Still flashing with the landward gulls And loom and slowly disappear The sails above the shadowy hulls And Spain go under and the shore Of Africa the gilded sand And evening vanish and no more The low pale light across that land Nor now the long light on the sea: And here face downward in the sun To feel how swift how secretly The shadow of the night comes on . . .
Archibald MacLeish - 1892-1982
A poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit, Dumb As old medallions to the thumb, Silent as the sleeve-worn stone Of casement ledges where the moss has grown— A poem should be wordless As the flight of birds. * A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs, Leaving, as the moon releases Twig by twig the night-entangled trees, Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves, Memory by memory the mind— A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs. * A poem should be equal to: Not true. For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf. For love The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea— A poem should not mean But be.