Corliss Engine

The hours, in a long plunge,
Swirl unconquering
Against this motion clear in steel.
Body of an older birth, like rock
That stands against a sea, this motion breaks
Time’s lesser flow. And here is raised
A symbol of the flight in emptiness
That bears the world and our own selves;
Before such clarity the days fall back; the very days
That drown our lives at last, fall spent
Before the deeper might that builds our blood.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.