The Cities of the World

THE cities of the world, one after one,
Like camp fires of a night, in ashes gray
Crumble and fall; the wind blows them away.
Karriak and Naucratis and Babylon, —
Where now are their kings’ palaces of stone ?
As the card houses children build in play,
Tempest and flame and ruin and decay
Have wasted them, and all their lights are gone.
Thus, even thus, Manhattan, London, Rome,
Like unsubstantial figments shall depart.
Their treasure hoards of learning and of art,
Which war and toil have won, a ruthless hand
Will scatter wide, as jewels the wild foam
Gathers and wastes and buries in the sand.
William Prescott Foster.