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Question at Night

As twilight softly turns to somber brown,
you see a velvet-silky eiderdown
spread slowly by an otherworldly nurse
to tuck in tight the sleepy universe
so caringly, that not a periwinkle
is blemished by as little as a wrinkle,
that butterflies remain perfectly painted,
their double wings so delicately decked
and not a single rose petal has fainted
wrapped in the shades that comfort and protect,
and in such soft repose they meditate,
unconscious of the velvet-silky weight:
on nights like this, wherever you should roam,
or muse inside your melancholy home,
or in a tearoom, by the setting sun
watch as they light the gas lamps one by one,
or walk your dog, and wearied by the climb
halt as the lazy moon begins to wane,
or drive along a dusty country lane,
your coachman nodding off from time to time,
or sail upon the sea, as pale as parchment,
or sprawl along the bench of your compartment,
or amble through a foreign city square,
entranced by gazing idly at the glare
of street lamps stretching many-many miles
in accurately even double files,
or cross the Grand Canal, towards the Riva
where opal mirrors split the sunny flames,
to brood upon the blush of bygone fever,
remembering the sweet and sorry games
of seasons past, which like those lamps of yore
loom up some time and then they disappear,
remembrance that will linger evermore,
remembrance that's a burden, yet so dear:
then lower your remembrance-burdened head
to contemplate the marble floor you tread:
and yet, in this delightful Paradise
the craven hearted question must arise:
why all this beauty, jewel, graven marble?
- you ask the question with dejected eyes -
oh, why the silk, the sea, the butterflies,
and why the evening's velvet-silky marvel?
and why the flames, the sweet and sorry games,
the sea, where farmers never sow a grain?
and why the ebb and tide of swelling waters,
and why the clouds, Danaos' gloomy daughters,
remembrances, the past in heavy chain,
the sun, this burning Sisyphean boulder?
and why the moon, the lamps shoulder to shoulder
and Time, that endless ever-dripping drain?
or take a blade of grass as paradigm:
why does it grow if it must wilt sometime?
why does it wilt if it will grow again?


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