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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.

Print Edition

  • Publisher
  • Department of English, University of California
  • Berkeley, CA, USA
    • Editor
    • Morton D. Paley
    • Contributors
    • S. Foster Damon
    • Alvin H. Rosenfeld
    • Laurence Goldstein

    Digital Edition

    • Editors:
    • Morris Eaves, University of Rochester
    • Robert Essick, University of California, Riverside
    • Joseph Viscomi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Project Manager
    • Joe Fletcher
    • Technical Editor
    • Michael Fox
    • Previous Project Manager and Technical Editor
    • William Shaw
    • Project Director
    • Adam McCune
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    • Project Coordinator, University of Rochester:
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    • Additional Transcription:
    • Adam McCune
    • Jennifer Park
    • Emendations:
    • Rachael Isom
    • Mary Learner
    • Adam McCune
    • Ashley Reed
    • Jennifer Park
    • Scott Robinson
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    • Joseph Ryan
    • William Shaw
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    • Adam McCune
    • Project Assistants:
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    • Rachael Isom,
    • Mary Learner,
    • Jennifer Park,
    • Ashley Reed,
    • Adair Rispoli,
    • Scott Robinson
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    • Copyright © 2015 Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, all rights reserved. Items in this digital edition may be shared in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. copyright law. Redistribution or republication on other terms, in any medium, requires express written consent from the editors and advance notification of the publisher. Permission to reproduce the graphic images in this digital edition rests with the owning institutions.