Hills gliding like hands out of a slipping hold...)
Light over the pit mouths,
Streaming in tenuous rays down the black gullets of the Hill...
(The copper, insensate, sleeping in the buried lode.)
Forcing the clogged windows of arsenals...
Probing with long sentient fingers in the copper chips...
Gleaming metallic and cold
In numberless slivers of steel...
Light over the trestles and the iron clips
Of the black bridge—poised like a gigantic spider motionless—
Sweet inquisition of light, like a child’s wonder...
Intrusive, innocently staring light
That nothing appals...
Light in the slow fumbling summer leaves,
Cooing and calling
All winged and avid things
Waking the early flies, keen to the scent...
Green-jeweled iridescent flies
Swarming over the blackened lips,
The young day sprays with indiscriminate gold...
Watchman, what of the Hill?
The laden cars
Go rumbling to the mill,
And Labor walks beside the mules...
All’s Well with the Hill!
Spires of Grace Church,
For you the workers of the world
Travailed with the mountains...
Aborting their own dreams
Till the dream of you arose—
Beautiful, swaddled in stone—
Scorning their hands.
THE LEGION OF IRON
They pass through the great iron gates—
Men with eyes gravely discerning,
Skilled to appraise the tunnage of cranes
Or split an inch into thousandths—
Men tempered by fire as the ore is
And planned to resistance
Like steel that has cooled in the trough;
Silent of purpose, inflexible, set to fulfilment—
To conquer, withstand, overthrow...
Men mannered to large undertakings,
Knowing force as a brother
And power as something to play with,
Seeing blood as a slip of the iron,
To be wiped from the tools
Lest they rust.
But what if they stood aside,
Who hold the earth so careless in the crook of their arms?
What of the flamboyant cities
And the lights guttering out like candles in a wind...
And the armies halted...
And the train mid-way on the mountain
And idle men chaffing across the trenches...
And the cursing and lamentation
And the clamor for grain shut in the mills of the world?
What if they stayed apart,
Leaving the ground encumbered with dead wire
And the sea to row-boats
And the lands marooned—
Till Time should like a paralytic sit,
A mildewed hulk above the nations squatting?
What of the silence of the keys
And silvery hands? The iron sings...
Though bows lie broken on the strings,
The fly-wheels turn eternally...