White Magic

by George Sterling (1869–1926)

Keep ye her brow with starshine crost
    And bind with ghostly light her hair,
O powers benign, lest I accost
    Song’s peaceless angel unaware!

One eve her whisper came to earth,
    As eastward woke a thorny star,
To tell me of her kingdom’s worth
    And what her liberations are:

She hath the Edens in her gift
    And songs of sovereignties unborn;
In realms agone her turrets lift,
    Wrought from the purples of the morn.

Where swings to foam the dusky sea,
    She waits with sapphires in her hand
Whose light shall make thy spirit be
    Lost in a still, enchanted land.

Musing, she hears the subtle tunes
    From chords where faery fingers stray—
A rain of pearl from crumbling moons
    Less clear and delicate than they.

The strain we lost and could not find
    Think we her haunted heart forgets?
She weaves it with a troubled wind
    And twilight music that regrets.

Often she stands, unseen, aloof,
    To watch beside an ocean’s brink
The gorgeous, evanescent woof
    Cast from the loom of suns that sink.

Often, in eyries of the West,
    She waits a lover from afar—
Frailties of blossom on her breast
    And o’er her brow the evening star.

She stands to greet him unaware,
    Who cannot find her if he seek:
A sigh, a scent of heavenly hair—
    And oh, her breath is on his cheek!

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

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