Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BURNING STRAWPILES, by EVA K. ANGLESBURG



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BURNING STRAWPILES, by            
First Line: On autumn nights when heaven is hung
Last Line: Are roused by strawfires blazing near.
Subject(s): Desire; Fire


On Autumn nights when heaven is hung
With threatening clouds far strawfires strung
Round earth's dark rim seem rubies bright
Gemming the velvet edge of night.
But presently scores of fires upflare,
Some far, some near, till everywhere
Within the night-narrowed
Circle of our sight
Flower vast, frost-fronded flames which light
The sky with their ruddy glare.
They kindle great witch-fires in the sky
That streak the black clouds swirling by
With smears of crimson.
Tall trees tower
Darkly to those weird skies which lower;
Great, gaunt cottonwoods, black and high
Propping a sagging, blood-red sky.

Against the heavens the great flames hurl
Giant talons; cruel claws curl
Backward, then slash with an upward sweep.
They rend and tear. Sharp claws sink deep,
The torn clouds fly.
But at last the fierce triumphant flames
Fray out and die.

As the darkness deepens shadow-monsters swarm,
That misbegotten brood born of fire and storm.
In the awesome stillness they crouch and creep
To the edge of the firelight,
(Peopling the dark)
But the flames uprear with a flash and a leap
Rout them and dim to a last red spark.

Those Autumn nights besmeared with red,
With the menace of storm brooding overhead,
Bejeweled with a hundred glittering fires
Have barbaric splendor which inspires
Curious impulses, strange desires.
A savage wakens. Our frail veneer
Cracks. In a moment disappear
Centuries.
The fire-fiends mock and leer
As we shudder with sudden, nameless dread
In the clutches of dim, inherent fear
For primitive instincts, dormant, dead,
Are roused by strawfires blazing near.





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