Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO DUST RETURNING, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
TO DUST RETURNING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fool! Fool!
Last Line: From dust created, unto dust returns.
Subject(s): Dust


SCENE : The palace garden, in the center of which stands a
sun-dial. The
KING, absorbed in meditation, watches the shadow move
across the dial's
face. The COURT FOOL, a fantastic figure, enters, with a superb air,
holding in his band something which cannot be seen. He is pursued by
pages, youths, and maidens of the court.

CROWD
Fool! Fool!
A YOUTH
He swears that in his hand he holds
The bulwarks of the earth!
A GIRL (to KING)
Sire, is it true?
A YOUTH
His hand contains great empires!
A PAGE
Kingdoms!
GIRL
Crowns!
A YOUTH (to JESTER)
Prove it! give me a star
!A GIRL (to KING)
Oh Sire, he says
That in his hand he holds a power and glory
More great than yours!
A YOUTH (to JESTER)
Then grant to us our wishes!
FOOL
Wish! And I'll grant it!
1ST GIRL
Please, some satin slippers!
FOOL
I have them here!
1ST GIRL
painted with flying cherubs?
FOOL
With flying cherubs! Lined with sky blue satin
YOUTH
I want a kingdom!
FOOL
Kingdoms? I have plenty.
2D GIRL
A scarlet bonnet!
3D GIRL
I would like a lover.
In splendid rich apparel! Have you got him?
FOOL
Bonnets and lovers jostle one another.
BOY
I want a war-horse white as milk, and stamping!
1ST CHILD
Some wooden soldiers!
2D CHILD
And a little trumpet
A PAGE
Glory I want!
FOOL
My hand is full of glory.
OLD MAN
I 'm blind! I want to die!
FOOL
I've death abundant.
CROWD
A dancing monkey! Jewels! Stars!
FOOL (addressing the KING)
And you?
KING (pointing to the shadow on the dial)
I want an answer to the creeping shadow
That marks off time.
FOOL (holding his hand high above his head)
Look, then! I have the answer
To everything that is. This small right hand
Contains the sum of all desires -- the bourne
For which life strives -- the solace unto death
I have more power in this fragile hand
Than kings may covet; all the heritage
Of them that reign -- kingdoms and battles, powers,
Banners and hosts of war, and crowns and thorns,
Aye, and the kings that wear them --
KING
Fool, explain this.
FOOL
Wonderful hand! It is so full of stars
hardly hold them! It is splashed with scarlet
Thunders and tumult -- these go streaming through it!
A thousand battles rock and riot in it!
Cities are in it -- I can hear them breathing --
Kingdoms and crowns, yes, nations have I here!
And hearts! My child, those cherub painted slippers
Are mad in it for dancing! A scarlet bonnet
Flames among fallen cities! I hold the sum
And substance of this world. Oh look! The glory!
I see it trickling out between my fingers
Easy to capture it! I reached my hand
And scooped up splendor!
CROWD
Give! Oh, show it! Give us!
FOOL
Then take -- (Lets fall handful of dust)
KING
It's dust!
FOOL
What would you have? This world
From dust created, unto dust returns.





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net