We present this work in honor of the poet’s 140th birthday.
The patient Earth spins on among the stars
Like an old lady in the Halls of Space,
Whose candles – set on Heaven’s window bars –
Wonder and wink at her excessive pace.
She mends Time’s garments with her age-long thread,
And patches Knowledge with forgotten lore
Dropped on the threshold by the ones who’ve fled
Out of this life through the grave’s narrow door.
On, on she spins with dignity and grace,
Crushing relentlessly our faintest hopes,
Whilst grave astronomers examine Space
For explanations, with long telescopes.
The Wind at intervals on air will croon
For her to spin to, but she goes on still,
When all is silent and the clown-faced Moon
Gazes and gapes above a sleeping hill.
I’ve often wondered why she never tires,
And why her candles – high on Heaven’s bars –
Don’t go right out like ordinary fires,
Or cheap gas-stoves – or threepenny cigars.