of the Powers"
(notes edited by
|notes on the text|
If Midge will pine and curse its hours awayThis could be characterized as a deeper level of cynicism or, as J.M.S. Tompkins remarks, it could be associated with the view that that 'all the powers of man, creative and executive, are 'solid as ocean foam'. The lama in Kim', she notes, 'takes this for granted'. (p. 193). On the other hand, the story that follows certainly seems to present the dailiness of action as extremely attractive compared to the practice of art. It is possible to see in “The Children of the Zodiac”, the collection’s last story, an answer to this criticism.
Because Midge is not Everything For-aye,
Poor Midge thus loses its one summer day;
Loses its all — and winneth what, I pray?
The young men, established in their world and not in the least introspective, are those with whom all is well at home, whose solid and daylight concerns leave them no need to explore the countries of the mind. The third line [of the epigraph] suddenly shifting focus, sees them and their achievements as no more than the foam on the vast ocean of time. All men’s achievements are as evanescent as foam, but men, as they work, do not remember this. The poet, however, unappeased by action, is visited by the vision. It is the line of “Bridge Builders” and “Cities and Thrones and Powers”