A Compact?

By George Sterling

Far up the mountain-side today
    The slopes are baked and hot;
I find no shade upon my way,
    And water-springs are not.

Here, where a little gully's wall
    Takes shadow from the south,
I see a tiny rillet crawl
    From out a stony mouth.

Now, where the stream begins to fail
    Below a narrow brink,
I carve a basin in the shale
    That small wild things may drink.

A poor and shallow cup, at best,
    But good for beaks and lips.
Slowly from out the mountain's breast
    The clearing water drips;

And well I know when sunset light
    Makes sharp the canyon rims.
My pool will wait the things of night,
    Where pure and cool it brims. . . .

Spirit of nature, you that first
    Called rain-clouds from the sea,
When next my needy mouth shall thirst
    Do you as much for me!

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