dead leaves to garlands

i cannot find my way: there is no star
in all the shrouded heavens anywhere;
and there is not a whisper in the air
of any living voice but one so far
that i can hear it only as a bar
of lost, imperial music, played when fair
and angel fingers wove, and unaware,
dead leaves to garlands where no roses are.

no, there is not a glimmer, nor a call,
for one that welcomes, welcomes when he fears,
the black and awful chaos of the night;
for through it all – above, beyond it all -
i know the far-sent message of the years,
i feel the coming glory of the light.

[ e.a. robinson, "the children of the night" ]


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