I In night-devouring pride God and ghost deride, And not knowing what is best, Peering past his death Man's untiring vanity Consumes his bitter rest. II Flame emanating, spout upon spout, Flame on his head that shouts Fiery Dionysus climbed Olympian plenitude and dined On rarer bones than men's eyes Before or after spied; Then, finished with that golden feast, Burned statues down, head and feet, In serpent-seas of fire that we Might build again from perfected memory. III What if destruction of vast colonnades appalled? Wrecked form to formless called: Holy fire makes wide mind a wall, Paints thereon, and names that image All. Water and desire and stark upright flame begin Where world grew ocean from some ecstatic limb. Starved eunuchs hunching bald-eyed at the law Know Adam to the marrow, jumping to the fall. An engendered emptiness can beget Strong delight for those whose minds are full; Stark contemplation hollows out delight Save when sword or scalpel pull. IV Answer to sorrow or suffering comes Displaying ornate mask or abrupt gun; Michelangelo lobouring in the sculpted dark Blazed imagination forth upon uncertain tides--- Pale constellations of his thought Brought death and life out of one troubled heart, Or might have brought ---O How long can man Out of narrow sorrow extract a song? Right action finishes out the thought A lonely exalted mind began; Long-loved monuments fixed in the sight Assemble us out of desire to dissolve Into that unutterable One again.