George Sterling

(1869-1926 / United States)

The Abandoned Farm - Poem by George Sterling

The moon was large across the hills
Amid whose fields I wandered lost,
And cold her pearl upon the rills—
From wave to wave in music tost.

Far in among untended slopes,
Vacant of trees, the valley wound.
I saw no light to raise my hopes,
Nor heard, save of the stream, a sound.

A voiceless region, weird and bare,
Whose roads were held by briar and weed,
Covert for mouse and aspen hare
When the red hawk and owlet feed.

And then, a house I So still it lay!
Still as the moon that overhead
In silence took her crystal way.
A house can die, like men, 'tis said;

And this lay dead and desolate.
How tell the pathos of the scene—
The hush of things inanimate,
The moonlight, sad, immense, serene?

What should I term it, house or tomb?
Now all was over. Now the dust
Lay thick in each deserted room.
The latch was given to the rust.

Sere on the threshold lay the leaves;
Hopeless and blank the windows stared,
Like eyes of one who sits and grieves
In hours remorseful and unshared.

In what near night or distant dawn
Were now the dwellers? Lived they still,
They who so many times had drawn
Before the hearthstone or the sill?

Lived it in other hearts, that home ?—
Remembered very far away,
Where snowy plains, or whiter foam,
Or tropic cities knew the day.

Still hung the frozen moon above
The roof where song and tears had been,—
Where birth and death and toil and love
Had once their ancient way with men.

Chill and forlorn the wintry gleam
Of moonlight flooding all the space.
The age-long murmur of the stream
Made lonelier the hour and place.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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