The House Of Dust: Part 01: 05: The snow floats down upon us, mingled with rain by Conrad Aiken
The snow floats down upon us, mingled with rain . . . It eddies around pale lilac lamps, and falls Down golden-windowed walls. We were all born of flesh, in a flare of pain, We do not remember the red roots whence we rose, But we know that we rose and walked, that after a while We shall lie down again.
The snow floats down upon us, we turn, we turn, Through gorges filled with light we sound and flow . . . One is struck down and hurt, we crowd about him, We bear him away, gaze after his listless body; But whether he lives or dies we do not know.
One of us sings in the street, and we listen to him; The words ring over us like vague bells of sorrow. He sings of a house he lived in long ago. It is strange; this house of dust was the house I lived in; The house you lived in, the house that all of us know. And coiling slowly about him, and laughing at him, And throwing him pennies, we bear away A mournful echo of other times and places, And follow a dream . . . a dream that will not stay.
Down long broad flights of lamplit stairs we flow; Noisy, in scattered waves, crowding and shouting; In broken slow cascades. The gardens extend before us . . . We spread out swiftly; Trees are above us, and darkness. The canyon fades . . .
And we recall, with a gleaming stab of sadness, Vaguely and incoherently, some dream Of a world we came from, a world of sun-blue hills . . . A black wood whispers around us, green eyes gleam; Someone cries in the forest, and someone kills.
We flow to the east, to the white-lined shivering sea; We reach to the west, where the whirling sun went down; We close our eyes to music in bright cafees. We diverge from clamorous streets to streets that are silent. We loaf where the wind-spilled fountain plays.
And, growing tired, we turn aside at last, Remember our secret selves, seek out our towers, Lay weary hands on the banisters, and climb; Climbing, each, to his little four-square dream Of love or lust or beauty or death or crime.