Henry Van Dyke
Fire-Fly City - Poem by Henry Van Dyke
Like a long arrow through the dark the train is darting,
Bearing me far away, after a perfect day of love's delight:
Wakeful with all the sad-sweet memories of parting,
I lift the narrow window-shade and look out on the night.
Lonely the land unknown, and like a river flowing,
Forest and field and hill are gliding backward still athwart my dream;
Till in that country strange, and ever stranger growing,
A magic city full of lights begins to glow and gleam.
Wide through the landscape dim the lamps are lit in millions;
Long avenues unfold clear-shining lines of gold across the green;
Clusters and rings of light, and luminous pavilions, --
Oh, who will tell the city's name, and what these wonders mean?
Why do they beckon me, and what have they to show me?
Crowds in the blazing street, mirth where the feasters meet, kisses and wine:
Many to laugh with me, but never one to know me:
A cityful of stranger-hearts and none to beat with mine!
Look how the glittering lines are wavering and lifting, --
Softly the breeze of night, scatters the vision bright: and, passing fair,
Over the meadow-grass and through the forest drifting,
The Fire-Fly City of the Dark is lost in empty air!
Girl of the golden eyes, to you my heart is turning:
Sleep in your quiet room, while through the midnight gloom my train is whirled.
Clear in your dreams of me the light of love is burning, --
The only never failing light in all the phantom world.
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