FIRE was here, and havoc’s hot excess;
Then æons on æons of quiet in the sun.
No footfall; not a voice. What was begun
In chaos, lay a bleaching wilderness.
Yon ashen peaks were crouching at the brim,
Bare, terrible as fabulous alarms;
And here the haunted cactus waved its arms;
And spectral night and dawn rose o’er the rim.
Nor has the noisy interlude of man
Won from these summits any answering sign.
But from the silence of the shattered plan
Men have caught courage, counsel half-divine;
And through the sun-touched crater’s awful span
God’s onward footsteps in his ruin shine.