End of Days

There is a wistfulness to the end of days,
the cycle run, nor more to do
than wait and wait, dream gilded yesterdays,
until the cycle be renewed.

There is a vanity to the final times,
this clock that’s turned, this course long set,
and all best protest as a beam
gainst the gathered gloom of the long descent.

There is a blindness to the twilight hour,
these sightless young, rebels counterfeit,
infatuates of progress and of power,
burners of branch and haters of root.

But if the tree of this human heart be judged
alone by its fruit in consequence
then good men be as good as motes
riding rayed gainst the hurricane;

the devil with such loaded scales
that judge all things by rote effect,
and mete to each the depth of deed
in the carnal terms of the scientists.

But the mansion of man’s soul is grander yet,
and the gate thereto is well protected
by greater powers than these.

Only this then can we well conceive —
we who dwell neither in retrospect
nor devour our feast in complacencies —

we latest children of these latter days,
we capstone and nadir of the past,
we frank skeptics of all posterities:

We mine virtue in the mount of vice,
and grow the sproutling in the freeze,

that what must cease for glory or for generations,
shall commence for God and procreations.

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