New York Nocturnes and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts


The Hermit


Above the blindness of content,
   The ignorance of ease,
Inhabiting within his soul
   A shrine of memories,

Between the silences of sleep

   Attentively he hears
The endless crawling sob and strain,
   The spending of the years.

He sees the lapsing stream go by
   His unperturbed face,

Out of a dark, into a dark,
   Across a lighted space.

He calls it Life, this lighted space
   Upon the moving flood.
He sees the water white with tears,

   He sees it red with blood.

And many specks upon the tide
   He sees and marks by name,—
Motes of a day, and fools of Fate,
   And challengers of fame;


With here a people, there a babe,
   A blossom, or a crown,—
They whirl a little, gleam, and pass,
   Or in the eddies drown.

He waits.  He waits one day to see

   The lapsing of the stream,
The eddying forms, the darknesses,
   Dissolve into a dream.