Ina Coolbrith

From Russian Hill

Night and the hill to me! 
Silence no sound that jars; 
Above, of stars a sea; 
Below, a sea of stars! 

Tranced in slumber’s sway, 
The city at its feet. 
A tang of salty spray 
Blends with the odors sweet 

From garden-close and wall, 
Where the madrona stood, 
And tangled chaparral, 
In the old solitude. 

Here, from the Long Ago, 
Rezanov’s sailors sleep; 
There, the Presidio; 
Beyond, the plumed steep; 

The waters, mile on mile, 
Foam-fringed with feathery white; 
The beaconed fortress isle, 
And Yerba Buena’s light. 

O hill of Memories! 
Thy scroll so closely writ 
With song, that bough and breeze 
And bird should utter it: 

Hill of desire and dream, 
Youth’s visions manifold, 
That still in beauty gleam 
From the sweet days of old! 

Ring out thy solemn tone, 
O far-off Mission bell! 
I keep the tryst alone 
With one who loved me well. 

A voice I may not hear! 
Face that I may not see, 
Yet know a Presence near 
To watch the hour with me. . . 

How stately and serene 
The moon moves up the sky! 
How silvery between 
The shores her footprints lie! 

Peace, that no shadow mars! 
Night and the hill to me! 
Below, a sea of stars! 
Above, of stars a sea!