Poetry Forum Areas

Introduce Yourself

New to PoetrySoup? Introduce yourself here. Tell us something about yourself.

Looking for a Poem

Can't find a poem you've read before? Looking for a poem for a special person or an occasion? Ask other member for help.

Writing Poetry

Ways to improve your poetry. Post your techniques, tips, and creative ideas how to write better.

High Critique

For poets who want unrestricted constructive criticism. This is NOT a vanity workshop. If you do not want your poem seriously critiqued, do not post here. Constructive criticism only. PLEASE Only Post One Poem a Day!!!

How do I...?

Ask PoetrySoup Members how to do something or find something on PoetrySoup.

You have an ad blocker! We understand, but...

PoetrySoup is a small privately owned website. Our means of support comes from advertising revenue. We want to keep PoetrySoup alive, make it better, and keep it free. Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on PoetrySoup. See how to enable ads while keeping your ad blocker active. Also, did you know you can become a PoetrySoup Lifetime Premium Member and block ads forever...while getting many more great features. Take a look! Thank you!
Get Your Premium Membership

Before the Altar

by
 Before the Altar, bowed, he stands
With empty hands;
Upon it perfumed offerings burn
Wreathing with smoke the sacrificial urn.
Not one of all these has he given, No flame of his has leapt to Heaven Firesouled, vermilion-hearted, Forked, and darted, Consuming what a few spare pence Have cheaply bought, to fling from hence In idly-asked petition.
His sole condition Love and poverty.
And while the moon Swings slow across the sky, Athwart a waving pine tree, And soon Tips all the needles there With silver sparkles, bitterly He gazes, while his soul Grows hard with thinking of the poorness of his dole.
"Shining and distant Goddess, hear my prayer Where you swim in the high air! With charity look down on me, Under this tree, Tending the gifts I have not brought, The rare and goodly things I have not sought.
Instead, take from me all my life! "Upon the wings Of shimmering moonbeams I pack my poet's dreams For you.
My wearying strife, My courage, my loss, Into the night I toss For you.
Golden Divinity, Deign to look down on me Who so unworthily Offers to you: All life has known, Seeds withered unsown, Hopes turning quick to fears, Laughter which dies in tears.
The shredded remnant of a man Is all the span And compass of my offering to you.
"Empty and silent, I Kneel before your pure, calm majesty.
On this stone, in this urn I pour my heart and watch it burn, Myself the sacrifice; but be Still unmoved: Divinity.
" From the altar, bathed in moonlight, The smoke rose straight in the quiet night.

Poem by
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - Before the AltarEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...


Top Amy Lowell Poems

Analysis and Comments on Before the Altar

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem Before the Altar here.