SERMON BY MR. BLAKE
for S. Foster Damon
No man can keep the rose from death;
by breathing back the borrowed sun
it makes infirmity of god-
head rooted in the hoary earth;
the power lies in what consumes,
not what is eaten up. Who lives
in fire praises energy;
he feels no spider crawl beneath
the fallen leaf, his eyes intense
with coming next refuse the sun-
light as a yellow unguent
effacing flame. He dwells inside
a city out of space, a source
immune from ever stepping back
(the burning bush before the gate
returns the timid to a life-
time of tormenting flies); beside
the fiery fountains what is wrought
can never die; enslavement to
the cycles of the sun becomes
a dream upon awakening.
We give its colors to the rose;
all beauty we adore is what
we conjure up and sprinkle
on the grasping soil. Who would lose
by lack of crossing over all
creation at its origin?
The fire, gentlemen, the fire!
There is nothing in the world
but what is hammered out of flame.