The Builders

By George Sterling

The year grows old, but Progress has no age:
    Her flags go forward to increasing light;
    Behind her lies the night;
It is a ceaseless war her soldiers wage,
And on her great and ever-widening sky,
"Onward!" is still the truceless battle cry.

The future is our kingdom, and, altho
    Our hands unbuild the city they have built,
    Yet here no blood is spilt
Nor swords uplifted for a nation's woe.
And, tho the columns and the temples pass,
Let none regret; let no man cry "Alas!"

We do but cross a threshold into day.
    Beauty we leave behind,
    A deeper beauty on our path to find
And higher glories to illume the way.
The door we close behind us is the Past:
Our sons shall find a fairer door at last.

A world reborn awaits us. Years to come
    Shall know its grace and good,
    When wars shall end in endless brotherhood,
And birds shall build in cannon long since dumb.
Men shall have peace, though then no man may know
Who built this sunset city long ago.

Wherefore, be glad! Sublimer walls shall rise,
    Which these do but foretell.
    Be glad, indeed! For we have builded well
And set a star upon our western skies
Whose fire shall greaten on a land made free,
Till all that land be bright from sea to sea!

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