Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PORTRAIT IN SINISTER LIGHTS, by ROYALL HENDERSON SNOW



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PORTRAIT IN SINISTER LIGHTS, by            
First Line: Doom walks with her
Last Line: And doom will walk with her.
Subject(s): Dunes; Helen Of Troy; Homer (10th Century B.c.); Mythology - Classical; Poetry & Poets; Stars; Iliad; Odyssey


Doom walks with her
Born eager for the offerings of all ages
And unmatched with her own; --
With her, amorous of she knows not what,
Blind to the world which rules her.

Only the small souls flourish
On an earth luminous in star-light;
Black-hilled with shoulders supporting the sky,
Holding in its lap the music of running streams.
Here, on an earth sown with the gold seed-lights of cities,
An earth where the mile-wide wheat fields bend under winds
And thunderstorms are lost in mountains --
Here only the small souls flourish!

Millions of them, the small souls:
Sand grains in a dune.
The wind blows
and they creep . . . . . creep . . . . .
A dune moves slowly and trees vanish,
Bright-leafed trees once gay in the sun are lost;
Houses are buried, houses where men loved and children were born
Are eaten . . . . . as a dune moves slowly.

Sand grains in a desert, millions there are.
A hurricans whips and death
For the lonely traveller
Rides fiercely over the desert.
They are hard, these sand grains, hard and little and sharp.
There is a bright sparkle to the mass of them flashing under the sun,
And they cannot be hurt.

In this woman is the folly of yearning
And doom walks beside her
Cloaked in a cold wind and unseen
But seeing.
He will mark her brown with his sign
And she will walk in a sand grain world
To her death.

And no Homer will sing her
(Homer himself, with the other great,
Was marked by doom and begged
In his seven cities)
For she shares but the sadness of outcast souls,
Nought of their mightiness.

Helen was great and a Homer sang her,
Chronicled loveliness born to suffer,
Terrible beauty avenging itself
While Greece, long-desolate,
Waited for sons who never returned;
While burning Troy in the shrill black night
Smouldered like a giant ruby by the sea.

But in this woman (unmatched with her own time
And unaware its menace)
There is nothing great --
Only a fine eagerness: crisp and sweet and fresh
As tendrils of young plants,
Equally helpless against wind-blown sand.
She will come sweet and eager,
And doom will walk with her.





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