The Crane in Bloomsbury

MAN’S god to see, backwards I bent my head,
Like any saint intent upon his vision.
There, dark against the clouds, the monster raised
Colossal arms, and moved with slow decision
Half over heaven. Yet no one seemed amazed,
No one fell prostrate, worshiping his power;
But midget men, commanding, while I gazed
Moved their weak arms, and brought the god’s arms lower
Roared all around me motor evidence
Of our assault upon life’s brevity:
Men hurried as though death were at their heels,
And would not leave their thoughts alone, lest he
Should gain upon them. So they rushed on wheels
From door to door, filling the moments out
With twice each moment’s labor — though there steals
Only behind more haste a heavier doubt.
And from the ground an exhalation came,
Even in the breath of stone and iron streets,
The breath of Autumn, earthy from the leaves
Fallen beneath the trees — such breath as meets
An idle harvester when all the sheaves
Are carried, or some ploughboy wandering home,
Who, missing the late swallow from his eaves,
In darkening silence listens, and is dumb.