Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

From Stone to Steel

E.J. Pratt
From:   E.J. Pratt: Complete Poems. ed. Sandra Djwa and R.G. Moyles. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989.


From stone to bronze, from bronze to steel
Along the road-dust of the sun,
Two revolutions of the wheel
From Java to Geneva run.

The snarl Neanderthal is worn
Close to the smiling Aryan lips,
The civil polish of the horn
Gleams from our praying finger tips.

The evolution of desire
Has but matured a toxic wine,
Drunk long before its heady fire
Reddened Euphrates or the Rhine.

Between the temple and the cave
The boundary lies tissue thin:
The yearlings still the altars crave
As satisfaction for a sin.

The road goes up, the road goes down —
Let Java or Geneva be —
But whether to the cross or crown,
The path lies through Gethsemane.


September-October 1932


E.J. Pratt's works copyright © to the estate of the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page