The world will fail in your description;
You arrive late in the ruined house
To wonder at the immediate tasks, the
Mere beginings, stirrings of light and air,
The exact picture of your distraction,
Dictating a steady presence--
You will not yield, but what is given
Shall deaden to your advantage the
Speech that praises only the condition,
Partial justices made wholly bitter . . .
You will not abandon this deep sorrow,
Thought upon thought to oneself, proud
In its power and misery, rigorous,
Interested in solitude--plaintive,
Gazing below and above
The useless lawns and sprawling lights
For some chief expression, some phrase
That has, and yet conceals,
Priceless metaphors, tired appeals.
Words that contain antique meanings
At least good enough for private use,
When required--not now, but at the end,
In the scene advanced: declarative faith
As the heir and son of rank mystery.
And meanwhile, after such salvation is
Got-- What will you say to reality?
The high sun, it is left behind, like
Some discarded sign; your grandiloquent
Arm, lost in a fervid gesture . . .
Credible doubts, dusk, and suspicions
Thrawt the eye, blur the ground--
That mirror you found, it was carved,
It is pale, its depths are grey and white;
It plays, it jests, temporarily,
The mirror whose strict regulations
Sought more obscure lineaments,
Gross and vacuous, logical and odd.
It is incredible to think of the sun
Out of its natural firmament,
Waiting, below the horizon, at night,
Lost and forgotten, absurd, orange,
Tangible . . . and consigned
To a prison of choices and beautiful
Illusions, through a loss of real sight.
The sun! . . . that you would call
Like an aging and demented czar
To supervise the stark and weathered plain,
The opaque city walls, all the figures
Of woe, scenes of natural devastation;
Humanity, immolated by a great fire--
That originated in the glint of an eye,
The eye that might have caught the light
Falling softly on the wooden floor,
The mind that might have imagined the sun,
The hanging bulb, the private noon,
Any present arena, new or old, or strange
Or fond, where it remains, burning,
Close, volatile, unharmed, and named.
But it takes this much thought, this
Much strain, to learn the literal phrase--
Years in which, by absence, you force
A conjectural turning;
To abandon those universal idioms,
Thoughts of despair born of leisure,
All the subaltern woes,
For real pain that bears direct solution.
The sun at rest, the mind in command,
Exercising its high pity,
And the consequent death of metaphor.