Ina Coolbrith


Beyond the flight of hours,
Beneath the rooted flowers,
Where winter rain, nor showers
Of April, fall;
Where days that say “Alas”
Forget to come, to pass;
And joy or grief that was,
Is ended all.

There never sunlight gleams;
There sleep begets not dreams;
Therein is voice of streams,
Nor voice of trees.
From shadow into sun,
From light to shadow won,
No shining rivers run
To shining seas.

No birds of morning throat
Their joy from skies remote:
From the still leaves no note
On either hand;
No love-lorn nightingale,
That sings while stars wax pale,
And moonlight, as a veil,
Is on the land.

Many the dwellers are
Within that valley far,
Lit by nor sun nor star,
Where no dawn is;
Where sleep broods as a dove;
And love forgot of love,
The dead delights thereof
Can never miss.

Wherein is spoken word,
Nor any laughter heard;
The eyelids are not stirred
By touch of tears;
Wherein the poet’s brain
The rapture and the pain
Of song knows not again,
Through all the years.

Pale leaves of poppies shed
About the brows and head,
From whence the laurel, dead,
Is dropped to dust.
Strength laid in armor down
To mould, and on the gown
The mould, and on the crown
The mould and rust.

So evermore they lie:
The ages pass them by,
Them doth the Earth deny,
And Time forget;
Void in the years, the ways,
As a star loosed from space,
Upon whose vacant place
The sun is set.