Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Day is Waning / Katharine Lee Bates

The Day is Waning

The day is waning; gracious shadows grow;
Sweetness of vesper bells is on the air;
The soul is stirred, a dreaming embryo,
With impulses to fare
She knows not where.

Why should we long to live till life become
Dotage or lethargy or feeble fret
Of energies at ebb? When years benumb,
Pierced with the sleep-thorn, let
The dust forget.

But like a song from crumbling folio,
A blossom springing from the broken seed,
Shall not the pilgrim spirit onward go
Whither the bidding lead,
Unfrightened, freed,

Fain of the fresh adventure, trusting Death
As porter in her Father's house, one who
Shall shut the door upon the failing breath,
But lead her safely through
To welcomes new?

For here we pause but in the portico
Of that great temple, radiant with mirth
And beauty, Life. Even as we came, we go.
The ritual of earth
Began with birth;

Doth it not end with birth? From star to star
Shall we not walk the fire who walked the clod,
Nor find the bright, ascending journey far,
Treading, as here we trod,
Handfast with God?

The day is waning; prophesyings blow
Upon the wind; our wondering hearts are wooed
By secret whisperings, and long to know,
Atoms of valiant mood,

Katharine Lee Bates
from Yellow Clover: A book of remembrance, 1922

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Katharine Lee Bates biography

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