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Poem by William Ernest Henley


Time and the Earth


Time and the Earth -
The old Father and Mother -
Their teeming accomplished,
Their purpose fulfilled,
Close with a smile
For a moment of kindness,
Ere for the winter
They settle to sleep.

Failing yet gracious,
Slow pacing, soon homing,
A patriarch that strolls
Through the tents of his children,
The Sun, as he journeys
His round on the lower
Ascents of the blue,
Washes the roofs
And the hillsides with clarity;
Charms the dark pools
Till they break into pictures;
Scatters magnificent
Alms to the beggar trees;
Touches the mist-folk,
That crowd to his escort,
Into translucencies
Radiant and ravishing:
As with the visible
Spirit of Summer
Gloriously vaporised,
Visioned in gold!

Love, though the fallen leaf
Mark, and the fleeting light
And the loud, loitering
Footfall of darkness
Sign to the heart
Of the passage of destiny,
Here is the ghost
Of a summer that lived for us,
Here is a promise
Of summers to be. 



                      William Ernest Henley


William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. London Types: Bus Driver
  2. A Wink from Hesper
  3. The Ways of Death Are Soothing and Serene
  4. Before
  5. There's a Regret


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