MOONLIGHT IN THE PINES
by: George Sterling (1869-1926)
seraphic Night arose,
- Lifting the Pleiades' dim lyre
- Above that solitude where glows
- Rose-red Aldebaran's fire.
- Mute, ere the darkness could forget
- The crystal hour of evening's trance,
- I felt the little winds that set
- The mirrored stars a-dance.
- On restless leaves I heard them pass
- To touch the yellow vines that lay
- Like paler pythons in the grass,
- Beside a lonely way.
- To forest glades at last it led,
- By Silence chosen as her own:
- The pines' soft sighing overhead
- Seemed but her whispers flown.
- Scarcely it seemed to cross the bound
- Where she, aloof, stood sorceress--
- That twilight where the feet of sound
- Pass unto nothingness.
- A little weary of the speech
- Of burdened man and troubled sea,
- I stood and dreamed that time would teach
- Her dream of peace to me,
- And, awed by the communing night,
- Forgot the haggard world withdrawn,
- Ere on my face there fell a light
- As of a spectral dawn.
- It gleamed beyond the barring pine--
- That shattered silver of the moon--
- The midnight's asphodels divine
- On field and woodland strewn.
- Among the lesser trees it lay
- Like veiled and pallid ghosts that slept,
- About whose forms, as in dismay,
- The fearful shadows crept.
- But o'er the dale where Silence stood,
- With tranquil dews austerely crowned,
- A wilder glory touched the wood,--
- A sense of things profound.
- And subtlier on the enchanted air
- The moonlight's nacre seemed to melt,
- While mosses like a witch's hair
- Stirred to a wind unfelt.
- And, like a messenger of night,
- Mystical, ominous and slow,
- A fragile moth, in purposed flight,
- Went past on wings of snow.
- It may have been that elder pow'rs
- Stood, immaterial, in the glade;
- Perchance the moon's phantasmal flow'rs
- At shrines unseen were laid.
- For in those isles it seemed there shone
- Forsaken marbles, pure and cold--
- The gleam of altars overthrown
- And ghostly fanes of old.
- And since that hour the night can thrill
- With haunting chords by day unstirred,
- And Beauty's lips, refusing still,
- Move with a secret word.
POEMS BY GEORGE STERLING
"Moonlight in the Pines"
is reprinted from The House of Orchids and Other Poems.
George Sterling. San Francisco: A. M. Robertson, 1911.