Summer Lightning


Horatio Colony

Etiolated flame is now abroad,

And in between the hills there is a glare

Like that from unseen bonfires; night is flawed

With lanterns swaying in the sultry air;

Flames play like moths, and hover round earth's must;

There is the apparition of bright hair

And in the woods a three-tined fork is thrust.

There are viewless wings of fire that must strike moths

In their munchings, flittings, useless copulations;

The forest fancies of the twilit Goths

Are rampant; there are obscure cerebrations

In the brains of birds; the wings of some now whir

Like wheels of prayer in China; and there runs

An aching to the tips of each beast's fur.

This is Night's culture, this is what they call

Aestheticism, with attendant pallor,

White nakedness and lights ephemeral,

With many a sharp neurosis and a fervor

And inspiration from the sexual parts,

The conic breasts, the thighs of grief and dolor,

The arid breath of desiccated hearts.

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