CAPE ANN, MASS.
I have selected four short poems from a great many written in my lifetime. I have chosen "Fire and Glass" because it seems to me one of my best earlier lyrics, as well as being one not usually preferred. The two sonnets from The Dust Which Is God are complete in themselves. I have merely given them a title and conforming punctuation. "Harmony" and the sonnet, "Wound in Secret," from The Stairway of Surprise, seem to me, perhaps, to convey something out of universal experience.
WILLIAM ROSE BENÉT
THE THISTLY YELLOW FLAME flows up like water
The dusk brick glows.
Fashion the ropelike glass; your lip can blow it
To a vase like a rose,
To a goblet curved like a wave, with a stem like a hly.
Glass can be spun
To frailer lace than the cobweb brown old spiders
Weave in the sun.
Not pure gold ingots nor all the renown of iron
Nor the blushing brand,
Nor crackling cataracts of molten metal
Kissing the sand,
So praise this cleanly and bewildered fury
Potent to shape
Emerging contours scintillant as diamond,
Smooth as the grape.