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May 27th, 2015 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 288,562 comments.
Amy Lowell - Before the Altar

Before the Altar, bowed, he stands
With empty hands;
Upon it perfumed offerings burn
Wreathing with smoke the sacrificial urn.
Not one of all these has he given,
No flame of his has leapt to Heaven
Firesouled, vermilion-hearted,
Forked, and darted,
Consuming what a few spare pence
Have cheaply bought, to fling from hence
In idly-asked petition.
His sole condition
Love and poverty.
And while the moon
Swings slow across the sky,
Athwart a waving pine tree,
And soon
Tips all the needles there
With silver sparkles, bitterly
He gazes, while his soul
Grows hard with thinking of the poorness of his dole.
"Shining and distant Goddess, hear my prayer
Where you swim in the high air!
With charity look down on me,
Under this tree,
Tending the gifts I have not brought,
The rare and goodly things
I have not sought.
Instead, take from me all my life!
"Upon the wings
Of shimmering moonbeams
I pack my poet's dreams
For you.
My wearying strife,
My courage, my loss,
Into the night I toss
For you.
Golden Divinity,
Deign to look down on me
Who so unworthily
Offers to you:
All life has known,
Seeds withered unsown,
Hopes turning quick to fears,
Laughter which dies in tears.
The shredded remnant of a man
Is all the span
And compass of my offering to you.
"Empty and silent, I
Kneel before your pure, calm majesty.
On this stone, in this urn
I pour my heart and watch it burn,
Myself the sacrifice; but be
Still unmoved:  Divinity."
From the altar, bathed in moonlight,
The smoke rose straight in the quiet night.

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Added: Feb 1 2004 | Viewed: 16017 times | Comments and analysis of Before the Altar by Amy Lowell Comments (47)

Before the Altar - Comments and Information

Poet: Amy Lowell
Poem: 1. Before the Altar
Volume: A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass
- Lyrical Poems

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Comment 46 of 47, added on December 21st, 2014 at 1:21 PM.
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Comment 45 of 47, added on July 19th, 2014 at 5:10 AM.
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