THE SWORDS OF GLASS
I turn in the morning to defy, as I pass
the shabby antique-shop window, the swords of glass:
a blue crossing a green, but on each hilt
a bine of crimson, a frozen braid of gilt
and of water-crystal. Their twin smooth tips are sharp
as briars; the blades though flute and twist and warp
like barley-sugar if it glittered, or the gold
shafts of a roundabout. Self-enclosed and cold,
they creep with childhood's nausea for the too
richly-confected plane that is not quite true.
As these are not: not toys, yet they would smash
to sharp confetti round the fighter; never a flash
in beauty or gallantry; they have never been
crossed, but in mocking rest, the blue and the green.
I know them, the nature of all glass, the old sly
shallowness of the goat's the parrot's and the Arab's eye:
the blind perspective sparkle. Glass is a liar:
the air of images, witch-water, the dead man's fire;
dark-diamonded room of earth, light without heat,
where dazzle of limbeck and hell of mirror meet.
Lies, they have stabbed at lies, and the gesture lied.
The blue sword entered drily a dust-bubble's side,
dust in damnation's effigy of a Christ; and there
an evil Nothing vainly crucified air.
Strong in the green sword, Satan leaned above a well,
stabbed his own image, flared like a nova, and fell.
Colours and acts met on the mirror's face:
hell's ingrown icicle, suicide of glass,
I turn in the morning to defy as I pass.