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07 June 2009 @ 08:22 am
"Decadence" - Louis L'Amour  
Found this poem for a class project in the 6th grade.
It was my favourite poem from age 12 to age 16.
I discovered "I Love the World" at age 16 via Scott, my HS sweetheart, and the heavy metal band Anacrusis, whereupon it became my 2nd-to-favourite and has since remained.
I lost the name of the poet years ago.
I was reminded of the poem when Michael (loopback) shared something with me from a Russian film several months ago.
I found the poet's name last year via a partial quotation on Flickr thanks to a fragmented memory of its lines: Louis L'Amour.
Last week, I discovered I could search for poem titles in the Poetry section at Amazon and thus discover the compilation it was in.
Saturday morning, I picked the compilation Smoke from the Altar up from the public library.



I sit alone and watch the stars die out
Before the creeping dawn comes up the sky,
Like some old priest whose faith has turned to doubt
When gods no longer heed his wailing cry.

The dark trees etch themselves against the dawn,
Like memories of old that bring regret,
Or little formless fears the night has drawn
Against the sky in sharp-lined silhouette.

The moon is fading now, the skies grow gray -
The turning tide of life is at its ebb,
And mists along the valley float away
Like silvery dew upon a spider's web.

This world is dying now; there is no more -
A dawn will come more hopeless than the night,
Our rhymes are run, our hopes no longer soar,
We bow beneath a barren beauty's blight.

The ashes of our altar fires are cold,
And prophets wail the times they cannot mend -
Facing the future with hearts grown old
We only know ... a world can end.

"Decadence" - Louis L'Amour
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Kburgunder on June 7th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
"An Ember in the Dark" - Louis L'Amour
Faintly, along the shadowed shores of night
I saw a wilderness of stars that flamed
And fluttered as they climbed or sank, and shamed
The crouching dark with shyly twinkling light;
I saw them there, odd fragments quaintly bright,
And wondered at their presence there unclaimed,
Then thought, perhaps, that they were dreams unnamed,
That faded slow, like hope's arrested flight.

Or vanished suddenly, like futile fears -
And some were old and worn like precious things
That youth preserves against encroaching years -
Some disappeared like songs that no man sings,
  But one remained - an ember in the dark -
  I crouched alone, and blew upon the spark.
Kburgunder on June 7th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
"A Handful of Stars" - Louis L'Amour
Give me, O Night, a blessing
Of peace and a handful of stars -
Give me, O Dawn, a beginning,
New life, and a healing of scars;
Give me, O Day, a freshening
Of spirit, and warmth in the sun -
Give me, O Earth, of thy bounty,
Strength for the task I've begun.

Leave me, O Night, of your stillness
A calm for my inward soul -
Leave me a breath of your darkness
To cool me, and keep me whole;
Leave me the wind in the willows
The roll of the surf and the sea -
Leave me, Beloved, my memories
Of dreams you have given to me.
Kburgunder on June 7th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
"Banked Fires" - Louis L'Amour
I shall remember when my days are few
The twilight of a narrow, winding road;
The slender silver moon that days corrode;
The star that lent its loveliness to you.
The arching of a dream across the years -
I shall remember with the slow-winged night
The shadow of your hair against the light
Of locust trees abloom with frosted tears.

I shall remember when my fires are low,
The way you looked at me; the words you used;
The fragrance of your hurried breath, till lo,
Through all the pain of love our spirits fused.
I shall remember when my fires cease
Your heart against my own - for that was peace.
Kburgunder on June 7th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
"Question" - Louis L'Amour
Here's to the lands untraveled
And the roads I've never known,
To the high, lost lakes in the mountains
The islands that linger alone;
Here's to the hands I've never held,
And the lips I've never kissed -
To all the things I might have done,
And all the things I've missed.
Here's to the eyes that look into mine,
To the urge that's burning bright;
For my pulse beats strong and my heart is warm,
And ... what are you doing tonight?
Kburgunder on June 7th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
"A Wail from a Pulpeteer" - Louis L'Amour
If I could end this servitude
To need for coin, so gross and lewd,
I'd face the world with fortitude
No doubt.

If I had four and twenty blonds
A diamond and a stack of bonds,
Some caviar, and beer in ponds
I'd flout.

Inferior scum who write for cash
Neglect their "art" and deal in trash,
And from my pen they'd feel the lash
Of blame.

In pleasant comfort, quite content,
I'd sit secure - and scorn I'd vent
While they wrote tripe to pay the rent
Of shame.

I'd lash those literary lice
With patronizing "good advice"
I'd wreck their pulpy paradise
And write

Of "selling souls" and "prostitution" -
With violent words and elocution
I'd demand their bloody execution -
The blight!

But all the phrases that I sculp
Are buried in some woody pulp
And as my weary sobs I gulp
I try

To scratch out stories for my meat,
And just perhaps a Sunday treat
For Nature tells me I must eat -
But Why?
Kburgunder on June 7th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
"Forest People" - Louis L'Amour
I read their story in the sand,
Another in the snow,
They write it with their tiny feet
As they come and go;

Here one stopped to eat awhile,
There one paused in fear -
This was a sparrow's landing field
With marks of his running gear;

Their joys and woes and tragedies
Are written clear and bold.
Their swift, minute biographies
The tracks they leave unfold.
czochralskiczochalski on June 7th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting that so I could read it again.

I am and I'm not surprised to find out that was Louis L'Amour. :-) He was one of my father's favorite authors and his book 'Walking Drum' influenced me greatly as a budding history major.