Pro Tem

Make we a fire in the dark
Numb flesh to warm,
A little flame, a spark
How shall it harm?

There is light on your face and mine—
The shades retire—
Our arms meet and entwine
Around the fire,
Our flickering wind blown fire.

With store of burr and weed
Up-pile it higher!
What tho' the bared arm bleed,
The muscle tire!
Feed it—a rising fire!

The night is red with flame—
Our lips creep nigher—
Your eyes have rendered tame
The white hot fire,
The passionate full fire!

It holds smooth, time-worn stakes
Set up to shew
How far when Tempest wakes
The tide shall go—
It leaps and lays them low!

* * * * *

The light ash smoulders fast,
The sparks expire,
Lo! all the heat is past
From out our fire—
Our sudden wondrous fire.

The ground lies blistered, bare—
The starlight dies.
Dawn comes to shew you there
Against the skies,
With dull smoke reddened eyes.

Burnt branches—split and charred—
I place my hand
Upon them—It is hard
To understand
That these made once our fire,
Our fierce and driving fire.

Burnt flowers—once white and red
Dead buds unborn—
The rose's purer head
With vetch uptorn—
The lily with the thorn.

The dew damp scarf, the gem
Set deep in gold—
Your garment's broidered hem
Sore stained with mould—
The cup you could not hold.

We gave our hearts' best store,
Our richest prize—
Remaineth nothing more
To sacrifice—
Nought precious in our eyes!