Shall I let myself be caught

in my own light?

shall I let myself be broken

in my own heat?

or shall I cleft the rock as of old

and break my own fire

with its surface?

does this fire thwart me

and my craft,

or does my work cloud this light?

which is the god,

which is the stone

the god takes for his use?

Which am I,

the stone or the power

that lifts the rock from the earth?

am i the master of this fire,

is this fire my own strength?

am I master of this

swirl upon swirl of light?

have I made it as in old times

I made the gods from the rock?

have I made this fire from myself?

or is this arrogance?

is this fire a god

that seeks me in the dark?

I made image upon image for my use,

I made image upon image, for the grace

of Pallas was my flint

and my help was Hephaestos.

I made god upon god

step from the cold rock,

I made the gods less than men

for I was a man and they my work;

and now that is it that has come to pass?

for fire has shaken my hand,

my strivings are dust.

Now what is it that has come to pass?

over my dead, fire stands,

my marbles are alert:

each of the gods, perfect,

cries out from a perfect throat:

you are useless,

no marble can bind me,

no stone suggest.

They have melted into the light

and I am desolate;

they have melted;

each from his plinth,

each one departs;

they have gone;

what agony can express my grief?

each from his marble base

has stepped into the light

and my work is for naught.

Now am I the power

that has make this fire

as of old I made the gods

start from the rocks?

am I the god?

or does this fire carve me

for its use?

---Hilda Doolittle