“Dust” by Rupert Brooke


When the white flame in us is gone,

And we that lost the world's delight

Stiffen in darkness, left alone

To crumble in our separate night;


When your swift hair is quiet in death,

And through the lips corruption thrust

Has stilled the labour of my breath

When we are dust, when we are dust!


Not dead, not undesirous yet,

Still sentient, still unsatisfied,

We'll ride the air, and shine, and flit,

Around the places where we died,


And dance as dust before the sun,

And light of foot, and unconfined,

Hurry from road to road, and run

About the errands of the wind.


And every mote, on earth or air,

Will speed and gleam, down later days,

And like a secret pilgrim fare

By eager and invisible ways,


Nor ever rest, nor ever lie,

Till, beyond thinking, out of view,

One mote of all the dust that's I

Shall meet one atom that was you.


Then in some garden hushed from wind,

Warm in a sunset's afterglow,

The lovers in the flowers will find

A sweet and strange unquiet grow


Upon the peace; and, past desiring,

So high a beauty in the air,

And such a light, and such a quiring,

And such a radiant ecstasy there,


They'll know not if it's fire, or dew,

Or out of earth, or in the height,

Singing, or flame, or scent, or hue,

Or two that pass, in light, to light,


Out of the garden, higher, higher . . .

But in that instant they shall learn

The shattering fury of our fire,

And the weak passionless hearts will burn


And faint in that amazing glow,

Until the darkness close above;

And they will know poor fools, they'll know!

One moment, what it is to love.


Rupert Brooke's poem "Dust" was published inĀ Georgian Poetry, 1911-1912. To read this poem in a digitized version of this publication, follow the link(s) below: