I

Do NOT awake: the news is very bad.
The west is full of lightnings and the east
Brews hurricanes. Therefore sleep on, be still.
There is no ocean but provides a feast
For flesh-delighted fishes; under the hill
Of water to the vault the ships go down.
Shut up your ears; this noise alone can kill.
Nor ask, like some, for peace; for she is flown
And left no address, not a feather dropped.
Yes, it is late. Though there is time to drown
Or bleed, the sun’s uprising is not stopped
And from the blue he grins. But never mind,
These curtains make a night; and you are wrapped
In the impenetrable past, a kind
Soporific. You may not wake at all.

II

BECAUSE of the sickly bodies, the bones sticking out, the eyes
Bigger than ever under the shock-grown hair,
Here, take the meat from my hand, the milk from the cup.
It is not you I am feeding, you that have already enough,
It is my own heart I am feeding, that starves at the sight
Behind my eyes of the children my hand cannot reach with the cup.

III

HERE in the attic in the dust
I will sit down and break my fast
By gnawing with the moth and rust
Upon the useless lovely past.
No mouse more hungrily than I
Sniffs out the aroma of decay,
The mouse whose domesticity
Is nested down in yesterday.
Here are the curling skins of snakes
Once animated from within;
This is the lace the heart-beat shakes,
Here is the glove which wears thin.
I alone remain to keep
What little else is left behind,
The living image in the deep
Embalming fluid of the mind.

IV

THESE last warm smoky days that like a grape
Must be sucked out for sweetness and the skin
Dropt purple on the ground, these are the days
To sit and remember, where the willow leaves
Fall yellow to grass, topaz on emerald.
Remember the smell of hay-fields in the sun,
The sound of falling water white in dusk,
The whiteness of the swimmer in the lake.
This is the sweetness of the last regret,
The inviolable, the solved and salted past
That asks no action and but seldom tears.

V

THE stern earth gives no answer to our cries
And bears our blows with iron fortitude
Knowing within its molten breast more power
For devastation than is in these guns,
The miniature destruction of these bombs.
The tides along the shore, the mountain fires,
The woods laid down by hurricane and ice,
The quaking ground, the river demons loosed,
Are tools prepared for mightier death and sorrow
That may be never or may be tomorrow.