The Lover Waits

By George Sterling

This is her home! and oh, my homeless heart!
Mine eyes fill, for I know that yonder light
Assures her loveliness to other eyes. . . .
The stars go down. I hear the whimpering owl,
And little winds go past me in the dark,
Softly, afraid to wake the drowsing oaks
That guard her home with rough but faithful breasts.
Ah me! that mine were sleeping at their roots—
Too still to fear, as now, her smallest scorn.
The dews descend. The breath of flowers that die
Ascends. They mingle in the tender night
To some faint, holy symbol of her soul. . . .
The rose must pass, the starlight of the dew. . . .
There 's little comfort in the stars to-night,
Tho' Venus, o'er the mountain, glows like fire
Spilt from the censer of the Pleiades. , . .
I think this waiting will wear out my heart;
But ever 'twas, that he who loves must wait—
'T is part of all Love's hunger, nor would I
Forego one gleam of his irradiant wings:
His pains are sweeter than another's joy. . . .
The stars to-night seem curious, and peer
Beyond the unstirring leaves, as tho' to say:
"Lover, alas! we've seen all this before,
And know the silence that must end it all."
But they—the night of God shall still them each
Who give me now their pity or their scorn,
And deem that love is naught because it dies.
Little they know the wings that wait its Dream!
I'd sift the constellations for her brow,
To leave her crowned forever. Foolish lights,
I tell you that her eyes are Love's despair,
And all her beauty pain for very gods,
So fair is she! But she will not come forth
And let my heart forget that you exist
Or land or sea—only that Eden's mine,
And she and I alone there. . . . Now I'll dream
That some great rose has died, and that its soul
Goes by me on the night—goes by to God,
Who has all beauty in His gift, and gave
More to my Sweet than to the flowers she loves!
'T is true she thinks me mad, nor yet believes
What chains mine eyes have fashioned for my heart,
Deeming that it should fathom first her own
And find what's there: I scorn so cautious love!
Better delusion than a heart that plots,
And chaffers first with Love to find the cost:
I'll fence with Death, but Love shall have me blind.
Yet 't is as well that woman's breast should house
The inherited Misgiving. Still for her
Love is too oft a sexton at the last. . . .
Thank God there is no moon to make me ghosts
Among the blossoms of the orchard-trees I
For I've my dead—few, but a sleepless lot.
And question all one's stars. Ye trees, there 's that
Your roots cannot detain. A truce to this!
Shall night enmingle with my very blood—
And such a night? But listen, O ye trees!
Are those her footfalls, or my leaping heart?

A Wine of Wizardry and Other Poems by George Sterling, A.M Roberston, 1909.

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