by George Sterling (1869–1926)

        Now droops the troubled year
And now her tiny sunset stains the leaf.
                A holy fear,
        A rapt, elusive grief,
Make imminent the swift, exalting tear.

        The long wind’s weary sigh—
Knowest, O listener! for what it wakes?
                Adown the sky
        What star of Time forsakes
Her pinnacle?  What dream and dreamer die?

        A presence half-divine
Stands at the threshold, ready to depart
                Without a sign.
        Now seems the world’s deep heart
About to break.  What sorrow stirs in mine?

        A mist of twilight rain
Hides now the orange edges of the day.
                In vain, in vain
        We labor that thou stay,
Beauty who wast, and shalt not be again!

Sterling, George.  The House of Orchids and Other Poems.  (San Francisco:  A. M. Robertson, 1911).

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