Farm of Fools

By George Sterling

Nameless and uninvited,
    The gipsy princess came,
And now our sleep is haunted
    And sleep is not the same.
In dreams we follow blindly
    Her stained, seducing feet
On wizard roads of shadow
    Where dead and living meet.

At dawn deceived and tempted
    By her mysterious mirth,
We trade for gold of sunrise
    Our wingless gold of earth.
Then broken plow and wagon
    Are not for us to mend,
When, guided by her laughter,
    We hunt the rainbow's end.

Often we hear by noontide
    Notes of a far-off horn
And find, with her for comrade,
    Pan's hoofprints in the corn.
Out of the wild-grape clusters
    She presses madder wine
Than vintners of the lowland
    Take from the tended vine.

By night released and scornful,
    Regretting then our prayers,
We track her shining footsteps
    Up immaterial stairs,
A way of joyous peril
    Where boyhood's dragons are—
Built of ascending moonlight
    And ending in a star.

The scandal of our neighbors,
    The envy of their young,
We sing on pagan Sundays
    The wastral words she sung,
And gather for our harvest
    Her poppies in the wheat—
Burning with beauty's witch-fire,
    The laurels of defeat.

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