Flowers of Fire

For ages since the age of Chaos passed,1
Flame shot in torrents from this crater pyre,2
And the red plume of the volcano’s ire3
Higher than Chimborazo’s crown was cast.4
No sound awakes the summit, voiceless, vast,5
The bird now sips where rained the ashes dire,6
The soil is moveless, and Earth’s blood on fire,7
The lava—hardening—gives it peace at last.8
But, crowning effort of the fires of old,9
Close by the gaping jaws, for ever cold,10
Gleaming ’mid rocks that crumble in the gloom,11
As with a thunderclap in hush profound,12
’Mid golden dust of pollen hurled around,13
The burning cactus blazes into bloom.14