Rust and Fire
One in kind are rust and fire.
All ruin is combustion slow
while flaming quickly is desire.
The flame will have the sharper glow
and spread a prettier light,
but wood will rust with aching speed,
to give but swift delight.
Death comes from some consuming need,
corrupting all with falling fate;
to make its ash and steal its hearts
it does not cease nor does it wait,
corroding every cell and part.
But decadence with more control
corrosion too will spread abroad;
the iron burns in part and whole
from air and malice of the gods.
Decay, then, is but slow desire:
one in kind are rust and fire.
As though I were a twelve-point stag you've slain me:
though royal in my gloried might I fell.
These passions in my beating heart arraign me
before a court of life and death to tell
of every heart's desire; they flow unsated
as blood from forth the hunted heart will swell;
and yet your bullet leaves me more elated
with joy not lead nor pain nor death can quell.
City Light and Darkness
Beneath the moon-sphere city lights
in foggy halos cast like stars
their asterisks upon the night
and make the concrete glow, and cars
in speed unheeding of the scene,
so like the blur on movie screen,
make motion, growling, headlights bright,
and slice their way through starlit night.
Beside the road, and unremarked,
a sidewalk-walker travels home
with step on step through rushing dark
that he may shed his long-spent roam
like shoes on floors of well-lit rooms
and, reading, bunker from the gloom
until, now tired, a card to mark
his page, he thence to dreams embarks.
How weary I now feel, with aching feet,
and all the world seems as it were a dream,
and I, a walker too, march on in beat
to final glimpse of one bright homely gleam;
but of the lights I see, not one that shines
gives promise of my goal, for none are mine:
but forward still I march, with no retreat,
to window-shine of home-light sweet.