If other planets dark as earth
About dim trembling stars
Carry frail freight of death and birth,
Wild love, and endless wars;
If from far, unseen motes in flight
Life look down questioning
This helpless passage through the night
Is a less lonely thing:
But if unchained through empty space
Drift only shell and fire
What seeks the beauty of this face,
What end has its desire?
A candle in a night of storms,
Blown back and choked with rain,
Holds longer than the mounting forms
That ride time’s hurricane.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 25, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
“Earth Evanescent” appeared in You Who Have Dreams (Simon & Schuster, 1925).