The House of Youth

David Park Barnitz

Far in the melancholy hills it stands,
     Far off; and through the vista of the years,
     Down which my soul its helpless journey steers,
It flames a fire to lighten all the lands,
A fire that burns me and a flame that brands
     Me, whose dead days pass slow as heavy tears.

The road my footsteps tread is dim and still,
     There darkness abides and silence endlessly,
     And the low way mine eyes can scarcely see;
And yet the light and sound from that far hill
Like the sky's fire my weary pathway fill,
     So that it seems a place of life to be.

The world is but a background for it there,
     There where it stands, loud like a beaten lyre,
     And flames blood-red like some vast funeral-pyre,
Whereat my heart to fail doth not forbear;
Of all the things that have been made soe'er
     Only the House remains, a quenchless fire.

Ah God, that this thing were not in the world
     The hateful House that flames with light and song
     And weary singing all the ages long;
Ah that ev'n this might in the dust be hurl'd,
And crush'd and slain, even as my heart, where curl'd
     The kindly armies of the worm do throng.

Yea, surely I have seen it long ago,
     Far sunken in the weary dust of time;
     Yea surely even that stair so hard to climb
I climb'd, and strode its hallways to and fro;
The which were bright with many lamps aglow,
     And loud with choristers in ceaseless chime.

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