While George went to the house For his revolver, Michal climbed up the hill Weeping; but when he came with death in his hand She'd not go away, but watched. At the one shot The great dark bird leaped at the roof of the cage In silence and struck the wood; it fell, then suddenly Looked small and soft, muffled in its folded wings. The nerves of men after they die dream dimly And dwindle into their peace; they are not very passionate, And what they had was mostly spent while they lived. They are sieves for leaking desire; they have many pleasures And conversations; their dreams too are like that. The unsocial birds are a greater race; Cold-eyed, and their blood burns. What leaped up to death, The extension of one storm-dark wing filling its world, Was more than the soft garment that fell. Something had flown away. Oh cage-hoarded desire, Like the blade of a breaking wave reaped by the wind, or flame rising from fire, or cloud-coiled lightning Suddenly unfurled in the cave of heaven: I that am stationed, and cold at heart, incapable of burning, My blood like standing sea-water lapped in a stone pool, my desire to the rock, how can I speak of you? Mine will go down to the deep rock. This rose, Possessing the air over its emptied prison, The eager powers at its shoulders waving shadowless Unwound the ever-widened spirals of flight As a star light, it spins the night-stabbing threads From its own strength and substance: so the aquiline desire Burned itself into meteor freedom and spired Higher still, and saw the mountain-dividing Canyon of its captivity (that was to Cawdor Almost his world) like an old crack in a wall, Violet-shadowed and gold-lighted; the little stain Spilt on the floor of the crack was the strong forest; The grain of sand was the Rock. A speck, an atomic Center of power clouded in its own smoke Ran and cried in the crack; it was Cawdor; the other Points of humanity had neither weight nor shining To prick the eyes of even an eagle's passion. This burned and soared. The shining ocean below lay on the shore Like the great shield of the moon come down, rolling bright rim to rim with the earth. Against it the multiform And many-canyoned coast-range hills were gathered into one carven mountain, one modulated Eagle's cry made stone, stopping the strength of the sea.The beaked and winged effluence Felt the air foam under its throat and saw The mountain sun-cup Tassajara, where fawns Dance in the steam of the hot fountains at dawn, Smoothed out, and the high strained ridges beyond Cachagua, Where the rivers are born and the last condor is dead, Flatten, and a hundred miles toward morning the Sierras Dawn with their peaks of snow, and dwindle and smooth down On the globed earth. It saw from the height and desert space of unbreathable air Where meteors make green fire and die, the ocean dropping westward to the girdle of the pearls of dawn And the hinder edge of the night sliding toward Asia; it saw far under eastward the April-delighted Continent; and time relaxing about it now, abstracted from being, it saw the eagles destroyed, Mean generations of gulls and crows taking their world: turn for turn in the air, as on earth The white faces drove out the brown. It saw the white decayed and the brown from Asia returning; It saw men learn to outfly the hawk's brood and forget it again; it saw men cover the earth and again Devour each other and hide in caverns, be scarce as wolves. It neither wondered nor cared, and it saw Growth and decay alternate forever, and the tides returning. It saw, according to the sight of its kind, the archetype Body of life a beaked carnivorous desire Self-upheld on storm-broad wings: but the eyes Were spouts of blood; the eyes were gashed out; dark blood Ran from the ruinous eye-pits to the hook of the beak And rained on the waste spaces of empty heaven. Yet the great Life continued; yet the great Life Was beautiful, and she drank her defeat, and devoured Her famine for food. There the eagle's phantom perceived Its prison and its wound were not its peculiar wretchedness, All that lives was maimed and bleeding, caged or in blindness, Lopped at the ends with death and conception, and shrewd Cautery of pain on the stumps to stifle the blood, but not Refrains for all that; life was more than its functions And accidents, more important than its pains and pleasures, A torch to burn in with pride, a necessary Ecstasy in the run of the cold substance, And scape-goat of the greater world. (But as for me, I have heard the summer dust crying to be born As much as ever flesh cried to be quiet.) Pouring itself on fulfilment the eagle's passion Left life behind and flew at the sun, its father. The great unreal talons took peace for prey Exultantly, their death beyond death; stooped upward, and struck Peace like a white fawn in a dell of fire.