Nothing will come of nothing
Lear

Dark struggles broken westward. Men blink out
With eyes like unwashed jewels at the dawn,
Stale from a night of joy. Rain falls for miles
To dash itself against a stone.—To-day!

Now thoughts begin to piece themselves together
Like window-breaking on a film run backwards,
Between the earth’s legs mind throws back the sun,
Grows roots again to watch dusk go, and you.

The bald fells crested with a hopeless sunset
See no two atomies whose paths cross but
Who do not stop. Day goes its road to ruin;
It makes no comment on the eyes of men,

It sees that nothing happens. No expectation
Died slowly of exposure on a dial;
No courage gulped, no looks averted from
The ragged ends of overdrawn farewells.

No mutual consciousness whipped pulses up,
Till creeping fingers touched, wrenched limbs together.
So Love was stifled ’twixt a pair of sheets
And thrust out like a bottle turned stone-cold.

Heroes have fallen into vats and stewed
And men drunk up their beer unknowing. Birds
Stir orchestras to rhythm. Unsleeved arms lend
Stone precision. None speak to them about it.
Nor shall a sign be given you that once
You made a day less mortal than its fellows.

Winter 1926–27

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 12 Number 10, on page 34
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