Moloch

By George Sterling

I said, "The dark has come too soon."
    I gazed across the marshy waste
    To where, by vapors half-effaced,
Sank the southwestern, slender moon.

The vapors brooded on the land,
    Too big to sink, too foul to float,
    Upcast like poison from the throat
Of one great chimney near at hand.

The factory about its base
    Droned to the darkness, hour on hour—
    Squat dungeons, huddled at its tow'r,
As fearful of the night's dim face.

As fearful of the outraged night,
    It glowered with unblinking eyes
    On marshy waste, on tainted skies
Shamed by the desecrating light.

I said, "Within those roaring walls,
    What engines gleam, what toils await?
    There strength and power serve their fate,
And there a Titan's hammer falls.

"And surely there the fire reveals
    What giants at their service bend,—
    What thewed endurances attend
The sleepless shuttles and the wheels . . . . "

In meadow-dews an irised flame
    Stirred as the lucid morning broke,
    And from those portals, black with smoke,
A thousand weary children came!

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