PERMANENCE - Carl Sandburg Poems


Poems » carl sandburg » permanence


Set within a desert lone,
    Circled by an arid sea,
Stands a figure carved in stone,
    Where a fountain used to be.

Two abraded, pleading hands
    Held below a shapeless mouth,
Human-like the fragment stands,
    Tortured by perpetual drouth.

Once the form was drenched with spray,
    Deluged with the rainbow flushes;
Surplus water dashed away
    To the lotus and the rushes.

Time was clothed in rippling fashion,.
    Opulence of light and air,
Beauty changing into passion
    Every hour and everywhere.

And the yearning of that race
    Was for something deep and tender,
Life replete with power, with grace,
    Touched with vision and with splendour.

Now no rain dissolves and cools,
    Dew is even as a dream,
The enticing far-off pools
    In a mirage only seem.

All the traces that remain,
    Of the longings of that land,
Are two hands that plead in vain
    Filled with burning sand.