George Sterling: The Ashes in the Sea

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

The Ashes in the Sea

N. M. F.

George Sterling

Whither, with blue and pleading eyes, —
Whither, with cheeks that held the light
Of winter's dawn in cloudless skies,
Evadne, was thy flight?
Such as a sister's was thy brow;
Thy hair seemed fallen from the moon —
Part of its radiance, as now,
Of shifting tide and dune.
Did Autumn's grieving lure thee hence,
Or silence ultimate beguile?
Ever our things of consequence
Awakened but thy smile.
Is it with thee that ocean takes
A stranger sorrow to its tone?
With thee the star of evening wakes
More beautiful, more lone?
For wave and hill and sky betray
A subtle tinge and touch of thee;
Thy shadow lingers in the day,
Thy voice in winds to be.
Beauty — hast thou discovered her
By deeper seas no moons control?
What stars have magic now to stir
Thy swift and wilful soul?
Or may thy heart no more forget
The grievous world that once was home,
That here, where love awaits thee yet,
Thou seemest yet to roam?
For most, far-wandering, I guess
Thy witchery on the haunted mind,
In valleys of thy loneliness,
Made clean with ocean's wind.
And most thy presence here seems told,
A waif of elemental deeps,
When, at its vigils unconsoled,
Some night of winter weeps.
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