Pro Tem

Make we a fire in the dark 
   Numb flesh to warm,
A little flame, a spark 
   How shall it harm?

There is light on your face and mine—
   The shades retire—
Our arms meet and entwine
   Around the fire,
        Our flickering wind blown fire.

With store of burr and weed 
   Up-pile it higher!
   What tho' the bared arm bleed, 
The muscle tire!
        Feed it—a rising fire!

The night is red with flame—
   Our lips creep nigher—
Your eyes have rendered tame
   The white hot fire,
        The passionate full fire!

It holds smooth, time-worn stakes
   Set up to shew
How far when Tempest wakes 
   The tide shall go—
        It leaps and lays them low!
      *        *        *        * 
The light ash smoulders fast, 
   The sparks expire,
Lo! all the heat is past
   From out our fire—
        Our sudden wondrous fire. 

The ground lies blistered, bare—
   The starlight dies.
Dawn comes to shew you there
   Against the skies,
        With dull smoke reddened eyes.

Burnt branches—split and charred—
   I place my hand
Upon them—It is hard
   To understand
That these made once our fire, 
        Our fierce and driving fire.

Burnt flowers—once white and red 
   Dead buds unborn—
The rose's purer head
   With vetch uptorn—
        The lily with the thorn.

The dew damp scarf, the gem
   Set deep in gold—
Your garment's broidered hem
   Sore stained with mould—
        The cup you could not hold.

We gave our hearts' best store, 
   Our richest prize—
Remaineth nothing more
   To sacrifice—
        Nought precious in our eyes!