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And in the end is all ash,
the translation of our praise
to ruin, and to long days
and nights at the window, the sash

drawn tight against the dark—
cold outside and colder still
the stone, the hearth, the sill
of an old house of bleached, stark

bone? What is and what might
have been tumble towards the grave.
The house is split wood and staved
in, the yard two trees and an unnamed blight.

What lasts? What ruins remain?

There are miniatures on the mantel
                                            in fine bone,
dreams of mad-faced wheels
in the sky and the great heels
of the gods touching sea and stone.

But what gods now? Which gods among the ash?
We have endings, short or long,
but no drum, no Orphean song
in Stygian night where fires flare and flash

among ruins so beautiful, so immense,
hope greens against all good sense.

—Christopher Snook

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