Earth Evanescent

- 1888-1959

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.

Related Poems

What an Indian Thought When He Saw the Comet

Flaming wonderer! that dost leave vaunting, proud
Ambition boasting its lightning fringed
Immensity—cleaving wings, gaudy dipp’d
In sunset’s blossoming splendors bright and
Tinsel fire, with puny flight fluttering
Far behind! Thou that art cloth’d in mistery
More startling and more glorious than thine own
Encircling fires—profound as the oceans
Of shoreless space through which now thou flyest!
Art thou some erring world now deep engulph’d
In hellish, Judgement fires, with phrenzied ire
And fury hot, like some dread sky rocket
Of Eternity, flaming, vast, plunging
Thro’ immensity, scatt’ring in thy track
The wrathful fires of thine own damnation
Or wingest thou with direful speed, the ear
Of some flaming god of far off systems
Within these skies unheard of and unknown?
Ye Gods! How proud the thought to mount this orb
Of fire—boom thro’ the breathless oceans vast
Of big immensity—quickly leaving
Far behind all that for long ages gone
Dull, gray headed dames have prated of—
Travel far off mystic eternities—
Then proudly, on this little twisting ball
Returning once more set foot, glowing with
The splendors of a vast intelligence—
Frizzling little, puny humanity
Into icy horrors—bursting the big
Wide-spread eyeball of dismay—to recount
Direful regions travers’d and wonders seen!
Why I’d be as great a man as Fremont
Who cross’d the Rocky Mountains, didn’t freeze
And’s got a gold mine!

Orion Dead

[Artemis speaks]
               The cornel-trees
               uplift from the furrows,               
               the roots at their bases
               strike lower through the barley-sprays.

               So arise and face me.
               I am poisoned with the rage of song.

                         I once pierced the flesh
                         of the wild-deer,
                         now am I afraid to touch
                         the blue and the gold-veined hyacinths?

                         I will tear the full flowers
                         and the little heads
                         of the grape-hyacinths.
                         I will strip the life from the bulb
                         until the ivory layers
                         lie like narcissus petals
                         on the black earth.

                         Arise, 
                         lest I bend an ash-tree
                         into a taut bow, 
                         and slay—and tear
                         all the roots from the earth.

               The cornel-wood blazes
               and strikes through the barley-sprays,
               but I have lost heart for this.

               I break a staff.
               I break the tough branch.
               I know no light in the woods.
               I have lost pace with the winds.