North Wind

By George Sterling

On a day full of the north wind,
On such a day,
Let us take hands and stray.
    Perhaps we shall find
What it seeks and tries to say.
We have known so much of Duty:
Now, perhaps, we shall find her sister,
Wayward and strange, wild Beauty,
    Laughing for lone delight
    That the sun has kissed her
And clothed her wonderful wings.
I found her once when I strayed:
Down by the sea she played
With onyx pebbles and orange weed,
    Having no other need.
But I think if we two found her
    She would be in tears:
She would have lost things around her
    And we love might have known
        In sad young years.
    We should hear birds long flown
Breaking their hearts to charm her alien ears
        With ineffectual song,
For she has all for which we dared to long.

But, as you fear, if her indifference
    Lend us no clue to guide us hence
Still shall we find her footprint in the sands
    And see where her white hands
    Were idle with a flower.
        Ever the quest
    Was better than soft rest
        The high wind says.
        Now is the hour,
    Before the wind goes down.
    So many roads entreat
        From every town,
But let us take no road of yesterday,
For we have what we never can forget.
    Though we guess not the way
Leading to her, the haughty one, we yet
    Shall find the scent of bay
        The fogs have wet-
    Touch moss and watch reeds sway.
        Come, let us go
        And we shall know
        The flash of far foam,
And a breath of the wonder of things
From old woods and sweet waters and whisper of wings
    That bear the swallow home.
    The wind is out of the North:
        Let us go forth!

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