Ina D. Coolbrith

Rookie (1842-1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois (Josephine D. Smith))

San Francisco: April 18,1906 - Poem by Ina D. Coolbrith

In olden days, a child, I trod thy Sands,
Thy sands unbuilded, rank with brush and briar
And blossom - chased the sea-foam on thy strands,
Young City of my love and my desire.

I saw thy barren hills against the skies,
I saw them topped with minaret and spire;
Wall upon wall thy myriad mansions rise,
Fair City of my love and desire.

With thee the Orient touched heart and hands,
The world-wide argosies lay at thy feet;
Queen of the queenliest land of all the lands -
Our sunset glory, regal, glad and sweet!

I saw thee in thine anguish tortured! prone!
Rent with the earth-throes, garmented in fire!
Each wound upon thy breast upon my own,
Sad City of my grief and my desire.

Gray wind-blown ashes, broken, toppling wall
And ruined hearth—are these thy funeral pyre?
Black desolation covering as a pall—
Is this the end—my love and my desire?

Nay! Strong, undaunted, thoughtless of despaire,
The will that builded thee shall build again,
And all thy broken promise spring more fair,
Thou mighty mother of as mighty men.

Thou wilt arise, invincible! supreme!
The world to voice thy glory never tire;
And song, unborn, shall chant no nobler theme—
Great City of my faith and my desire.

But I will see thee ever as of old!
Thy wraith of pearl, wall, minaret and spire,
Framed in the mists that veil thy Gate of Gold—
Lost City of my love and my desire.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, July 12, 2008

Poem Edited: Sunday, July 13, 2008

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