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The Last Quarter of the Moon

 How long shall I tarnish the mirror of life,
A spatter of rust on its polished steel!
The seasons reel
Like a goaded wheel.
Half-numb, half-maddened, my days are strife.
The night is sliding towards the dawn, And upturned hills crouch at autumn's knees.
A torn moon flees Through the hemlock trees, The hours have gnawed it to feed their spawn.
Pursuing and jeering the misshapen thing A rabble of clouds flares out of the east.
Like dogs unleashed After a beast, They stream on the sky, an outflung string.
A desolate wind, through the unpeopled dark, Shakes the bushes and whistles through empty nests, And the fierce unrests I keep as guests Crowd my brain with corpses, pallid and stark.
Leave me in peace, O Spectres, who haunt My labouring mind, I have fought and failed.
I have not quailed, I was all unmailed And naked I strove, 'tis my only vaunt.
The moon drops into the silver day As waking out of her swoon she comes.
I hear the drums Of millenniums Beating the mornings I still must stay.
The years I must watch go in and out, While I build with water, and dig in air, And the trumpets blare Hollow despair, The shuddering trumpets of utter rout.
An atom tossed in a chaos made Of yeasting worlds, which bubble and foam.
Whence have I come? What would be home? I hear no answer.
I am afraid! I crave to be lost like a wind-blown flame.
Pushed into nothingness by a breath, And quench in a wreath Of engulfing death This fight for a God, or this devil's game.

by Amy Lowell
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