The Last Quarter of the Moon

by Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

How long shall I tarnish the mirror of life,

A spatter of rust on its polished steel!

The seasons reel

Like a goaded wheel.

Half-numb, half-maddened, my days are strife.

The night is sliding towards the dawn,

And upturned hills crouch at autumn's knees.

A torn moon flees

Through the hemlock trees,

The hours have gnawed it to feed their spawn.

Pursuing and jeering the misshapen thing

A rabble of clouds flares out of the east.

Like dogs unleashed

After a beast,

They stream on the sky, an outflung string.

A desolate wind, through the unpeopled dark,

Shakes the bushes and whistles through empty nests,

And the fierce unrests

I keep as guests

Crowd my brain with corpses, pallid and stark.

Leave me in peace, O Spectres, who haunt

My labouring mind, I have fought and failed.

I have not quailed,

I was all unmailed

And naked I strove, 'tis my only vaunt.

The moon drops into the silver day

As waking out of her swoon she comes.

I hear the drums

Of millenniums

Beating the mornings I still must stay.

The years I must watch go in and out,

While I build with water, and dig in air,

And the trumpets blare

Hollow despair,

The shuddering trumpets of utter rout.

An atom tossed in a chaos made

Of yeasting worlds, which bubble and foam.

Whence have I come?

What would be home?

I hear no answer. I am afraid!

I crave to be lost like a wind-blown flame.

Pushed into nothingness by a breath,

And quench in a wreath

Of engulfing death

This fight for a God, or this devil's game.