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.

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