This Hour

by Tennessee Williams

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At break of dawn the shape of life
Is chiselled with a keener knife,
And angularities emerge
From the illusion of the curve.

This is the hour that imparts
A special nudity to hearts,
When every secret thing is known
Inward to the very bone.

No mist of rain no veil of snow
Can blur this stark intaglio
Of sculptured hill and hollowed plain,
Poignant as thought, distinct as pain.

This is the keen recurrent edge
Of shuttling time. The frosty hedge,
The arrowed song of birds betray
The sword unsheathed in break of day.

This is the hour when men who dare
Shake lightening from their unbound hair,
And cherish in their last retreat
The will to bear, the strength to meet
Unflinchingly and with iron heart
The steel that smites the breast apart!


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