My words are dust.
I who would build a star,
I who would touch the heel of the white sun;
Staggering up the inaccessible sky,
I look upon the dust.
The stainless clouds go mounting
In shining spires;
And a little heap of dust
Are my desires.
Yet, dwelling long upon these peaks
Unchained upon the flickering western sky,
I have beheld them at the breath of darkness
Fade slowly out and die.
What of my lineage?
Arrogant and swift,
I bend above the dust,
Untouched of all my grief,
Untarnished of the hour,
And lo! the leaf—
The passionate climbing flower!
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 2, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.