I love those spirits
That men stand off and point at,
Or shudder and hood up their souls—
Those ruined ones,
Where Liberty has lodged an hour
And passed like flame,
Bursting asunder the too small house.
I would be a torch unto your hand,
A lamp upon your forehead, Labor,
In the wild darkness before the Dawn
That I shall never see...
We shall advance together, my Beloved,
Awaiting the mighty ushering...
Together we shall make the last grand charge
And ride with gorgeous Death
With all her spangles on
And cymbals clashing...
And you shall rush on exultant as I fall—
Scattering a brief fire about your feet...
Let it be so...
Better—while life is quick
And every pain immense and joy supreme,
And all I have and am
Flames upward to the dream...
Than like a taper forgotten in the dawn,
Burning out the wick.
THE SONG OF IRON
Not yet hast Thou sounded
Thy clangorous music,
Whose strings are under the mountains...
Not yet hast Thou spoken
The blooded, implacable Word...
But I hear in the Iron singing—
In the triumphant roaring of the steam and pistons pounding—
Thy barbaric exhortation...
And the blood leaps in my arteries, unreproved,
Answering Thy call...
All my spirit is inundated with the tumultuous passion of Thy Voice,
And sings exultant with the Iron,
For now I know I too am of Thy Chosen...
Oh fashioned in fire—
Needing flame for Thy ultimate word—
Behold me, a cupola
Poured to Thy use!
Heed not my tremulous body
That faints in the grip of Thy gauntlet.
Break it... and cast it aside...
But make of my spirit
That dares and endures
Pour through my soul
Thy molten, world-whelming song.
... Here at Thy uttermost gate Like a new Mary, I wait...
Charge the blast furnace, workman...
Open the valves—
Drive the fires high...
(Night is above the gates).
How golden-hot the ore is
From the cupola spurting,
Tossing the flaming petals
Over the silt and furnace ash—
Blown leaves, devastating,
Falling about the world...
Out of the furnace mouth—
Out of the giant mouth—
The raging, turgid, mouth—
Fall fiery blossoms
Gold with the gold of buttercups
In a field at sunset,
Or huskier gold of dandelions,
Warmed in sun-leavings,
Or changing to the paler hue
At the creamy hearts of primroses.
Charge the converter, workman—
Tired from the long night?
But the earth shall suck up darkness—
The earth that holds so much...
And out of these molten flowers,
Shall shape the heavy fruit...