Three memories of Shelley.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
that flashed past so near it
that you gave my heart
a palpitation with the unpremeditated start!
Higher still and higher
from the earth thou springest
like your chair's on fire;
very swift thou wingest.
-No, that's not a skylark. Wonder what the thing is?
The pale purple feathers
with red wings and chest
have flown through many weathers.
They look just like a vest.
I suppose you're speeding back to find your nest.
Keen as is an arrow
you flash through the sky.
You seem abnormally narrow.
If you weren't so high
I'd like to have a look, the better to identify.
What thou art I know not,
I'll see though, if I can.
An aeroplane, jets burning hot?
I'll more closely scan.
I see you better now - good gracious me! It's Superman!
* * * * * * * * * *
I met the traveler from an antique shop
who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs, a bust
of Pompey, and a vase of lead, in dust
and debris lie in my cellar, near a mop.
Few modern scholars are there who could top
their beauty, even though they are half rust."
He raved on, and aroused my simple trust,
till I at length prevailed on him to stop.
Seized with delight I bought them all. On one
deciphered I these words, "Made in Hong Kong."
Little more remained. Decay had come
from having rotted in the cellar long.
Of that colossal bust, begrimed and grey,
all but the plastic base had flaked away.
* * * * * * *
"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
I wrote that line, or put the thought
into Perce Shelley's head. I taught
the rain to fall,the rabbit and the hare,
the birds, all living things, to pair.
The world is filled with all that I have wrought;
all that exists, all for which man has fought,
for I have spread my power everywhere.
I want good, and what I want is good.
I could uproot that tree, if so I willed.
I do not, for the world runs well by plan.
But fear me! I am the face behind Death's hood.
You doubt! Then I will your place unfilled.
I cannot hear a nonexistent man.