A Child's Garden of Verses (1885)
Robert Louis Stevenson
Armies in the Fire
The lamps now glitter down the street;
Faintly sound the falling feet;
And the blue even slowly fall
About the garden trees and walls.
Now in the falling of the gloom
The red fire paints the empty room:
And warmly on the roof it looks,
And flickers on the back of books.
Armies march by tower and spire
Of cities blazing, in the fire;--
Till as I gaze with staring eyes,
The armies fall, the lustre dies.
Then once again the glow returns;
Again the phantom city burns;
And down the red-hot valley, lo!
The phantom armies marching go!
Blinking embers, tell me true
Where are those armies marching to,
And what the burning city is
That crumbles in your furnaces!
Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner: