James Agee

Sonnet V

Strengthless they stand assembled in the shadow,
Blind to all strife and all to sorrow blind
Who reared the tower, who scored the April meadow:
Sheltered, they overshade my strengthless mind.
Those hands that gave their kind ungentle power
To summer's travail, autumn did not spare:
That mind which knew the clear, the intact hour,
Now is disparted on a changeful air.

The hands that ached to help are pithless bone
(Mind, mind, the harsh pain and the unalloyed:
What fruit you bear, that must you bear alone!)
The broken helmet nods around its void:
So I disclothe me of this shadow's blight;
And stand the axis of swift noon, sure night.