The Last Quarter of the Moon
by 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
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
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.