The Harlot's Awakening

By George Sterling

Ere dawn a spirit took my hand,
  And once again, a joyous child,
I roamed an unforgotten land
  Of orchards fresh and mild.

How fair the apple-blossoms were!
  How cool the long-delaying breeze!
Where, half-asleep, I heard the stir
  And hum of happy bees.

Clear in the meadow ran the brook,
  From pool to pool, in liquid grace,
A glass o'er which I bent to look
  At my enmirrored face—

A girlish face, with placid brow
  All-innocent of care and hate,—
With eyes I cannot fathom now
  And lips undesecrate.

My sister's laugh, my brother's call—
  So would the morning larks rejoice!
But nearer, dearer far than all,
  I heard my mother's voice.

Her voice? Or did a music break
  Across the street's harsh sea
Whose thunder deepens? Christ! I wake
  To miserable me!

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