To H. G. Wells

By George Sterling

(With "The House of Orchids")

Here in this emerald inlet, with the blue Pacific to westward,
A tiny nautilus rides, and there! and there I are twain others,
Drifting in to the beach, where the lessened wave is broken
On clear chalcedony pebbles and gleams of the haliotis.
But there, afar on the sky-line, are ships that pass to the Islands,
Under the sun and moon, with the salt of the sea on their cordage.
Staunch and patient and happy, with pilot stars on their pathway,
Wise of the gales they fare, to men of another plowing. . . .

Symbol, those and these, of Time's wide sea and our dreamings,—
Of me with foam in my hands, and you with the human rubies.
Yet, look once at my bubbles, for I keep your gems in my bosom;
And soon we are sand of the beach—a little, O friend I but a little,
Ere ray nautilus touch the shore, and your sails are below the horizon.

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