A Man's a Sliding Mood
Ardent in love and cold in charity,
Loud in the market, timid in debate:
Scornful of foe unbuckled in the dust
At whimper of a child compassionate,
A man's a sliding mood from hour to hour,
Rage, and a singing forest of bright birds,
Laughter with lovely friends,and loneliness,
Woe with her heavy horn of unspoke words.
What is he then this heir of heart and mind?
Is this the man with his conflicting moods,
Or is there in a deeper dwelling place
Some silly shaping thing that bides and broods?
O BOWL that held the hot imprisoned fire,
Cup where the sacred essence used to burn—
That fluent essence that shall ne’er return—
Old home of Aspiration and Desire:
What art thou now to honour and admire?
A thing inconsequential one might spurn,
Thou art not e’en the scattered ashes’ urn;—
Husk of the spirit that shall not expire.
Thou cage and shell of ancient busy Thought,
Nurse-house of Soul, the domicile of him
Long fled thy osseous walls that Nature wrought
To please proud Time’s caprice and passing whim;
’Twixt two eternities a moment caught,
He rose from thee to join the seraphim.