Who, above, prepares an austere fiesta?
None. It is carpets of cloud unrolling prove
The heavens desire dancing. Clearly they also
Require grey, for all wear grey. In an enormous
Hush the ethereal crowd advances.
It will have trumpets, drums. Are gay girls hidden
In veils O grey as fear? Are hierophants
Proudly pavanning toward a sacred murder?
Are darkening here, nothing but clouds.
It is a huge fiesta, if austere:
Faces shrouded, feet shod with fog,
What appeared as gods or girls are mountains dancing.
Muffled their Highnesses are, yet moving lightly
As mist, they advance and bow, they retreat, they have changed
Places. It is a dance O it is a dance. Fire
Veins their approaching embrace. Have they kissed
At last, who vastly glow, part sombrely, go off?
Are lightening here, nothing but clouds.
It is a fierce fiesta, no more austere
Than if clumped torches rearing on the rumps of
Elephants lit up an emperor’s games.
The elephants trumpeting, the amphitheatre
Reverts O to a jungle clearing. About the kill
Fiery lions too proud to tear, tread,
Bound and roar, grumble, roar, are still. The air,
Fanned with sound, cools.
Are tumbling here, nothing but clouds.
The clouds roll forward greyly bellying. Rain
Pours down the cliffs, on the bunched factory lights
That quench and flare. Under fresh sluice the river is
Dimpling iron, and the beetlebacked limousines, like the asphalt, black
And bright. The thunder has stopped. The lurid branches
Of lightning, the hushed heat lightnings blotted out
By clouds loosing the rain. They pass away.
The rain ceases. There is nothing here
But memory of an austere fiesta.