George Sterling

(1869-1926 / United States)

A Compact? - Poem by George Sterling

Far up the mountain-side today
The slopes are baked and hot;
I find no shade upon my way,
And water-springs are not.

Here, where a little gully's wall
Takes shadow from the south,
I see a tiny rillet crawl
From out a stony mouth.

Now, where the stream begins to fail
Below a narrow brink,
I carve a basin in the shale
That small wild things may drink.

A poor and shallow cup, at best,
But good for beaks and lips.
Slowly from out the mountain's breast
The clearing water drips;

And well I know when sunset light
Makes sharp the canyon rims.
My pool will wait the things of night,
Where pure and cool it brims. . . .

Spirit of nature, you that first
Called rain-clouds from the sea,
When next my needy mouth shall thirst
Do you as much for me!


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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