Alice O. Howell   




What is the fulcrum of the soul,

  the lever of our reasoning?

  What are the limits of our loss?

  and how find dross

  concealed within the golds of love?


    What are the turnings of the heart

          which with a twisting lift of pain

      spiral up our wisdom yet again

  from  inner depths, neatly to wind

      and spill our resignations

  upon the surface of our mind?


How does one focus sorrow

  to burn into the sails

  of our desires

  and so scatter tomorrow's fleets

  of  love and longing

  which would assault the dire

  beaches of our being

  and break down all the walls of prudence?

      Oh, Archimedes, in the wonders

          of your thought

      did you ever turn to probe

  if failure's explanations might be sought

          through the obstructed channels of our needs

  or in the futile sad propulsions

      of our misdirected deeds?

  When death's malignant spear

  found you crouched over sand

  while concentrating without fear

  on your designs for man,

  perhaps you had just turned

  your lucid eye along his span -

      or upon those principles of passion

          laid across proportions of the soul

  which might engender

      some individuated whole.

  Or upon those analogies whereby

the broken-witted mortal

reason's pantograph might try.

thus point with greater point ally,

    and so delineate himself anew

that spirit fully-patterned

      could with divine intelligence


      some penultimate significance

        to what we dream and do.