Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ars poetica


Unearthly monster that with fiery eyes
In anger glaring
Mocks sullenly the looks and hopeless cries
Of deep despairing,
Art thou a demon from whose evil
heart
Roll fire and ashes
'Till to destruction every writhing part
Thine anger
dashes?
Morn saw thy walls in strength and beauty
stand
And rich with treasure,
Eve shall behold thy smoldering ashes fanned
In fiendish pleasure.
With crash on crash, the solid hold gives way
Of beam and rafter
While the fierce flames devour their helpless prey
With mocking laughter,
Great oceans lock the gates along their shores
While blazing structures totter
Rivers and lakes are sealed though man implores
The blessed boon of water,
Cool clouds float overhead but powerless all
The raindrops beating--
None saw the mystic writing on the wall
'Till Hope's defeating.
A hurried sound, the victor's final blow
Resounding loudly,
A death-like hush and all is lying low
That rose so proudly;
Blighted and blasted like a fragile flower
Consumed e'en as it flashes,
Unconquered foe, recorded is thy power
In dust and ashes.
Ah! still the hand that on Belshazzar's walls
Doomed grandeur's station
In lines of flame on human glory falls
With plain interpretation;
Lo, thus shall perish with consuming heat
All earthly treasure
Before whose ashes yet shall pause the feet
Of reckless pleasure.

~The Burning Building ~ Martha Lavinia Hoffman (1865-1900)