The Tides of Change

by George Sterling (1869–1926)

Wherewith is Beauty fashioned?  Canst thou deem
    Her evanescent roses bourgeon save
    Within the sunlight tender on her grave?
Awake no winds but bear her dust, a gleam
In morning’s prophecy or sunset’s dream;
    And every cry that ever Sirens gave
    From islands mournful with the quiring wave
Was echo of a music once supreme.

All æons, conquests, excellencies, stars,
All pain and peril of seraphic wars,
    Were met to shape thy soul’s divinity.
        Pause, for the breath of gods is on thy face!
    The ghost of dawns forgotten and to be
        Abides a moment in the twilight’s grace.

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

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