Permanence by Duncan Campbell Scott
Set within a desert lone,
Circled by an arid sea,
Stands a figure carved in stone,
Where a fountain used to be.
Two abraded, pleading hands
Held below a shapeless mouth,
Human-like the fragment stands,
Tortured by perpetual drouth.
Once the form was drenched with spray,
Deluged with the rainbow flushes;
Surplus water dashed away
To the lotus and the rushes.
Time was clothed in rippling fashion,.
Opulence of light and air,
Beauty changing into passion
Every hour and everywhere.
And the yearning of that race
Was for something deep and tender,
Life replete with power, with grace,
Touched with vision and with splendour.
Now no rain dissolves and cools,
Dew is even as a dream,
The enticing far-off pools
In a mirage only seem.
All the traces that remain,
Of the longings of that land,
Are two hands that plead in vain
Filled with burning sand.