by George Sterling (1869–1926)

She stands beside the ocean of the Past,
    A diver.  Pearls and hydras can she bring,
    Shells for the child and crystals for the king.
Prone on her reefs the sea-essaying mast
And keels that dared the hurricane are cast—
    Trophies of tides invincible that swing
    Around the islands where the Sirens sing,
The magic of whose song is hers at last.

Some shadow of the glory she restores,
    Tho’ wave and wind devour the Ships of Dream;
        For many mark her ere the fall of night,
When the surf’s sound is mighty on her shores,
    Singing, as wildly on her bosom gleam
        The sea-dews, and the rubies of the light.

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

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