What shall we find among the ashes?
The irreducible turned to stone?
A small resort, where summer people
Watched, as the great went by in flashes
Of chariot wheels, while dog and bone
Fled through the columns - a place to couple
With any transient Ocean Beach:
Wishes forever out of reach.
Now weary searchers lift the glass
Of solid wine set down too soon.
That dog, that bone, alike preserved
In antique fire as hard as brass,
Slowly are sought all afternoon
Through iridescent bottles curved
To hold less ashen scent than seems.
And cinder poetry stacked in reems.
Think of the picture-books to show
The Sunday classicist how well
Restored he may be too. This chair,
Much like his own, reminds us how
The one he sits in will dispel
When dug from dust, the long despair
Of scholars wondering if he read
All Sunday seated on his bed.
The past in print: the present, still
Unsteeped in lava, flickering on -
The doom of empires televized.
Those oriental statues fall
On one another, smashed and gone,
Like these from Greece which Pliny prized.
Ah, dear my listeners, much is told
By summer places in the cold.