The Glass of Time
By George Sterling
I know a lake high up among the hills —
A pure tranquillity where shadows rest,
Accepting to its acquiescent breast
The silver-throated rills.
A solitary killdee, running fleet,
(The one unquiet thing that meets the sight)
Slips like a bead along the thread of light
Where land and water meet.
Silent around the forest ramparts press,
Walling with emerald its quietude,
Ere Evening and her mystery o'erbrood
That hush and holiness.
There secretly the large-eyed stag is found,
And there at dawn the stealing mist that finds
Upon its arras the delaying winds,
Too ghostly for a sound.
Lucid, serene, untroubled by a wind,
The noonday crystal slumbers, cool and deep,
Calm as the features of a nun asleep,
Whom not a dream shall find.
Elusively, a sense of things unheard
Awakes, and is forgotten as it dies.
The afternoon is great with peace. Then cries,
Far off, and once, a bird.
The slow-winged clouds pass in unhastening flight
To some far haven of Hesperian ease,
Paving that court of chill translucencies
With alabaster light.
Therein, as in her sky, the moon shall melt,
The stars find sanctuary for a space,
Till morning, uncompassionate, efface
The palace where they dwelt.
There if one come, he fills that placid glass
With azure glory of the mirrored sky.
Fading, the vision and the glory die
With him whose footsteps pass . . .
Lake of the spirit, even so shall cease
(A pale mirage in heavens deep and far)
The face of Beauty, passing like a star
From peace to vaster peace.