To Life

By George Sterling

Witch and enchantress, I have watched you feed
    Your children from your cup of poison-brew;
    Subtly you mix the venom and the dew,
That drunken, all may follow where you lead,
Thinking a far mirage their nearer need,
    Whose phantom gardens brighten on the view,
    Where compensating waters may renew
The hearts that thirst, the failing feet that bleed.

Such is the power of your deluding wine
I dream I know its magic and design,
    Saying, "So far, no farther, will I sip,
        Ere the draft grow too bitter." Shall there be
    But deepening illusion for the lip,
        And in the dregs a mightier sorcery?

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