Alone, I whet my soul against the keen
Unwrinkled sky, with its long stretching blue.
I polish it with sunlight and pale dew,
And damascene it with young blowing leaves.
Into the handle of my life I set
Sprigs of mignonette
Twisted into sheaves.
The colors laugh and twinkle.
Twined bands of roadways, liquid in the sheen
Of street lamps and the ruby shine of cabs,
Glisten for my delight all down its length;
And there are sudden sparks
Of morning ripplings over tree-fluttered pools.
My soul is fretted full of gleams and darks,
Pulsing and still.
Smooth-edged, untarnished, girded in my soul
I walk the world.
But in its narrow alleys,
The low-hung dust-thick valleys
Where the mob shuffles its empty tread,
My soul is blunted against dullard wits,
Smeared with sick juices,
Nicked impotent for other than low uses.
Its arabesques and sparkling subtleties
Crusted to grey, and all its changing surfaces
Spread with unpalpitant monotonies.
I re-create myself upon the polished sky:
A honing-strop above converging roofs.
The patterns show again, like buried proofs
Of old, lost empires bursting on the eye
In hieroglyphed and graven splendor.
The whirling winds brush past my head,
And prodigal once more, a reckless spender
Of disregarded beauty, a defender
Of undesired faiths,
walk the world.