Sword Blades
The Last Quarter of the Moon
 

How long shall I tarnish the mirror of life,
A spatter of rust on its polished steel!
  The seasons reel
  Like a goaded wheel.
Half-numb, half-maddened, my days are strife.

The night is sliding towards the dawn,
And upturned hills crouch at autumn's knees.
  A torn moon flees
  Through the hemlock trees,
The hours have gnawed it to feed their spawn.

Pursuing and jeering the misshapen thing
A rabble of clouds flares out of the east.
  Like dogs unleashed
  After a beast,
They stream on the sky, an outflung string.

A desolate wind, through the unpeopled dark,
Shakes the bushes and whistles through empty nests,
  And the fierce unrests
  I keep as guests
Crowd my brain with corpses, pallid and stark.

Leave me in peace, O Spectres, who haunt
My labouring mind, I have fought and failed.
  I have not quailed,
  I was all unmailed
And naked I strove, 'tis my only vaunt.

The moon drops into the silver day
As waking out of her swoon she comes.
  I hear the drums
  Of millenniums
Beating the mornings I still must stay.

The years I must watch go in and out,
While I build with water, and dig in air,
  And the trumpets blare
  Hollow despair,
The shuddering trumpets of utter rout.

An atom tossed in a chaos made
Of yeasting worlds, which bubble and foam.
  Whence have I come?
  What would be home?
I hear no answer. I am afraid!

I crave to be lost like a wind-blown flame.
Pushed into nothingness by a breath,
  And quench in a wreath
  Of engulfing death
This fight for a God, or this devil's game.