Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DUSK ON ENGLISH BAY, by EARL (EARLE) BIRNEY



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DUSK ON ENGLISH BAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The lighting rooms perfect a chequerboard
Last Line: Any clutch of ours can hold this precious night.
Subject(s): Dusk; England; English


The lighting rooms perfect a chequerboard
Across apartment boxes. Through the popcorn
Reek, hotdogs and chips, the air lets fall
A rain of quiet coolness on the flesh. The calling
Bathers trot the footpocked sand on legs
Unsexed by distance, waving arms severed
With twilight. From the whitening ribs of the raft divers
Flash cream arcs across the expiring
Sunset, and are quenched. Beyond the bay the files
Of regimented lamps are pulsing evenly
On the long tamed whale of Point Grey. The evening
Star detaches and floats into the chartreuse heavens,
An arrested rocket. The moon, behind a row
Of moons along the promenade, contracts and yellows
Upward. Night's dissolvent eats into the west,
Browning the stippled mauve, the copper sulphate,
Paling and paling the opal, melting the latest
Speck of robin's eggshell into the Gulf of Georgia,
And ever over the Pacific pursuing tomorrow's
Sun. But tomorrow's sun is clean escaped
And rushes down through Asian skies, garish
With burst of shell and unarrested rocket,
And burns on Libyan sands, by bombs
Cratered and red with libations poured to the guns.
Past Narvik's blanching hulks tomorrow's sun
Is flying, over the Mediterranean's smudged
Embattled sharks, and the sailors quenched, and is climbing
To stricken dawn in England, widening his light
On limbs unsexed and severed, and the rain of iron
Cooling the flesh, and the stench of the flesh cooled,
While the flame untamed probes the tenement ruins.
Speeding and soaring he comes, the Atlantic sighting,
And there is no Joshua can brake his flight, nor
Any clutch of ours can hold this precious night.





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