Transformations

I THE TOWN

Oh you stiff shapes, swift transformation seethes
About you; only last night you were
A Sodom smouldering in the dense, soiled air:
To-day a thicket of sunshine with blue smoke-wreaths.

To-morrow swimming in evening's vague, dim vapour
Like a weeded city in shadow under the sea,
Below the ocean of shimmering light you will be:
Then a group of toadstools waiting the moon's white taper

And when I awake in the morning, after rain,
To find the new houses a cluster of lilies glittering
In scarlet, alive with the birds' bright twittering,
I'll say your bond of ugliness is vain.

II THE EARTH

Oh Earth, you spinning clod of earth.
And then you lamp, you lemon-coloured beauty!
Oh Earth, you rotten apple rolling downward;
Then brilliant Earth, from the burr of night in beauty
As a jewel-brown horse-chestnut newly issued!

You are all these, and on me lies the duty
To see you all, sordid or radiant-tissued.

III MEN

Oh labourers, oh shuttles across the blue frame of morning!
You feet of the rainbow balancing the sky!
Oh you who flash your arms like rockets to heaven,
Who in lassitude lean as yachts on the sea-wind lie!

Who crowd in crowds like rhododendrons in blossom,
Who stand alone in despair like a guttering light;
Who grappling down with work or hate or passion
Take writhing forms of all beasts that sweat and that fight;
You who are twisted in grief like crumpling beech-leaves,
Who curl in sleep like kittens, who mass as a swarm
Of bees that vibrate with revolt; who fall to earth
And rot like a bean-pod; what are you, oh multiform?
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