The Huntress of Stars

by George Sterling (1869–1926)

Tell me, O Night! what horses hale the moon!
    Those of the sun rear now on Syria’s day,
    But here the steeds of Artemis delay
At heavenly rivers hidden from the noon,
Or quench their starry thirst at cisterns hewn
    In midnight’s deepest sapphire, ere she slay
    The Bull, and hide the Pleiades’ dismay,
Or drown Orion in a silver swoon.

Are those the stars, and not their furious eyes,
    That now before her coming chariot glare?
        Is that their nebulous, phantasmal breath
Trailed like a mist upon the winter skies,
        Or vapors from a Titan’s pyre of death—
    Far-wafted on the orbit of Altair?

Third of “Three Sonnets of the Night Skies.”
Sterling, George.  The House of Orchids and Other Poems.  (San Francisco:  A. M. Robertson, 1911).

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