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Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)

Permanence


              1Set within a desert lone,
              2    Circled by an arid sea,
              3Stands a figure carved in stone,
              4    Where a fountain used to be.

              5Two abraded, pleading hands
              6    Held below a shapeless mouth,
              7Human-like the fragment stands,
              8    Tortured by perpetual drouth.

              9Once the form was drenched with spray,
            10    Deluged with the rainbow flushes;
            11Surplus water dashed away
            12    To the lotus and the rushes.

            13Time was clothed in rippling fashion,.
            14    Opulence of light and air,
            15Beauty changing into passion
            16    Every hour and everywhere.

            17And the yearning of that race
            18    Was for something deep and tender,
            19Life replete with power, with grace,
            20    Touched with vision and with splendour.

            21Now no rain dissolves and cools,
            22    Dew is even as a dream,
            23The enticing far-off pools
            24    In a mirage only seem.

            25All the traces that remain,
            26    Of the longings of that land,
            27Are two hands that plead in vain
            28    Filled with burning sand.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1926): 265. PS 8487 C6 A17 1926 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1926
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/10

Rhyme: abab


Other poems by Duncan Campbell Scott