William Watson

(1858-1935 / England)

A Sunset Poem by William Watson


Westward a league the city lay, with one
Cloud's imminent umbrage o'er it: when behold,
The incendiary sun
Dropped from the womb o' the vapour, rolled
'Mongst huddled towers and temples, 'twixt them set
Infinite ardour of candescent gold,
Encompassed minaret
And terrace and marmoreal spire
With conflagration: roofs enfurnaced, yet
Unmolten,-columns and cupolas flanked with fire,
Yet standing unconsumed
Of the fierce fervency,-and higher
Than all, their fringes goldenly illumed,
Dishevelled clouds, like massed empurpled smoke
From smouldering forges fumed:
Till suddenly the bright spell broke
With the sun sinking through some palace-floor
And vanishing wholly. Then the city woke,
Her mighty Fire-Dream o'er,
As who from out a sleep is raised
Of terrible loveliness, lasting hardly more
Than one most monumental moment; dazed
He looketh, having come
Forth of one world and witless gazed
Into another: ev'n so looked, for some
Brief while, the city-amazed, immobile, dumb.

Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010
Edited: Saturday, May 7, 2011

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