The Old Quarry

 [Poetry], The Timid Leaper  Comments Off on The Old Quarry
Aug 312011

The old quarry's flooded echo came back
To him almost exact, but left a blunted blank
For song, a lack of deadened cold echo
In so much dank; the quarry air was too
Soft and queer to sough a song out right,--
Yet still the listening stone, it seemed, white, uptilted,
Knew that song might be meant, to judge by crevice
And shadowed device and looks that meant no peace
Nor gave advice beyond the dusty tans
Rained down on singing man. One saw then,
The quarry was all quivered walls and rocks
A mocking water swallowed at the bottom.
It resembled nothing so much as a tomb.
Man's voice rolled all against the abandoned lot,
Echoing himself his repeated tune again
Like nothing else in nature that to voice pretends;
He was his own superior echo then
While song pursued its end as if never begun,
And time dilated some in jarring after-echo,
Or made itself felt as one,-- as dark burns on in coal
While fire unfolds fire. Here, some soft after-noise
(As in the mare the moaning foal) made some alloy,
Forging voice and form alive in the willful quarry
To totter and rejoice alone where dead water stayed,
-A second singing voice came from bland clay,
And was heard some way. It seemed, for once,
The offence of voice had persuaded voice
To once not stay remanded in veined marble
But grace half-garbled, but half-audible,
The silent singer's startled ear, and speak
Some talk of the theme he'd followed half-awake
Into the choked dark of the watery quarry.
What he caught of what came back made him wary.
"I won't be sorry. I won't, I won't--"
He straightened up half-sighing, as if he'd meant
Never to hear his own want in song he'd given
All his graven morning to, and that, if spent above,
Would have vanished less riven into eve
Than the grave day that the quarry gave.