Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EMPTYING ASHES, by MAXWELL ANDERSON



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EMPTYING ASHES, by            
First Line: The leaves blow like ghosts through the blur of
Last Line: And I empty the ashes, watching the leaves, after all.
Subject(s): Fire


The leaves blow like ghosts through the blur of lamplight
And gather in the wind at the foot of the wall;
Bare trees breathe in the wind with silverly singing;
Save for the street lamps flinging
Long level rays there are no stars seen at all.

And no man goes or comes; the houses are silent;
They have all withdrawn within from the cold rain,
Pulled down the blinds, and drawn up chairs to the fire,
Each to his own desire,
Knowing the wind only as winter wind again.

Winter, a furnace to tend, ashes to empty,
A banking of many fires, the evenings longer --
While the land is turned to the stars, the sea to the sun;
And mile by mile, one by one,
The rivers pause; and the tug of storms is stronger.

At the base of the wall the leaves lift in the wind's whirl;
The clouds pour over the sky; behind them rides
Somewhere a quiet moon, swift and dark,
Cutting its changeless arc,
Calling the tides we know, called by unknown tides.

I could step out on the rain, leave this darkness,
Blaze a path through the cool deserts of time,
Descend from sun to sun, from ledge to ledge,
Slip out beyond the edge,
And lose the earth like a forgotten crime.

I could turn within, follow curious shadows
Through the interminably opening doors,
Finding a thousand griefs, old scents and laughter,
Hung, cob-web like to rafters,
And secret springs, blank corridors, and haunted floors.

The leaves blow like ghosts through the blur of lamplight.
And gather in the wind at the foot of a wall;
Well, I am weary, these days seem dusty, lonely,
So much distance only,
And I empty the ashes, watching the leaves, after all.





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