Our meeting was like the upward swish of a rocket
In the blue night.
I do not know when it burst;
But now I stand gaping,
In a glory of falling stars.
Hola! Hola! shouts the crowd, as the catherine-wheels sputter and turn.
Hola! They cheer the flower-pots and set pieces.
And nobody heeds the cries of a young man in shirt-sleeves,
Who has burnt his fingers setting them off.
A King and Queen, and a couple of Generals,
Flame in colored lights;
Putting out the stars,
And making a great glare over the people wandering among the booths.
They are very beautiful and impressive,
And all the people say “Ah!”
By and by they begin to go out,
Little by little.
The King’s crown goes first,
Then his eyes,
Then his nose and chin.
The Queen goes out from the bottom up,
Until only the topmost jewel of her tiara is left.
Then that, too, goes;
And there is nothing but a frame of twisted wires,
With the stars twinkling through it.
Where else in all America are we so symbolized
As in this hall?
White columns polished like glass,
A dome and a dome,
A balcony and a balcony,
Stairs and the balustrades to them,
Yellow marble and red slabs of it,
All mounting, spearing, flying into color.
Color round the dome and up to it,
Color curving, kite-flying, to the second dome,
Light, dropping, pitching down upon the color,
Arrow-falling upon the glass-bright pillars,
Mingled colors spinning into a shape of white pillars,
Fusing, cooling, into balanced shafts of shrill and interthronging light.
This is America,
This vast, confused beauty,
This staring, restless speed of loveliness,
Mighty, overwhelming, crude, of all forms,
Making grandeur out of profusion,
Afraid of no incongruities,
Sublime in its audacity,
Bizarre breaker of moulds,
Laughing with strength,
Charging down on the past,
Glorious and conquering,
Invincible pith and marrow of the world,
An old world remaking,
Whirling into the no-world of all-colored light.