Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1670. Isolation
By Josephine Preston Peabody
  O BROTHER Planets, unto whom I cry,
    Know ye, in all the worlds, a gladder thing
    Than this glad life of ours, this wandering
  Among the eternal winds that wander by?
    Ever to fly, with white star-faces set        5
    Quenchless against the darkness, and the wet
Pinions of all the storms,—on, on alone,
        With radiant locks outblown,
    And sun-strong eyes to see
    Into the sunless maze of all futurity!        10
  Not ours the little measure of the years,
    The bitter-sweet of summer that soon wanes,
    The briefer benison of springtime rains;
  Nay, but the thirst of all the living spheres,
    Full-fed with mighty draughts of dark and light,—        15
    The soul of all the dawns, the love of night,
The strength of deathless winters, and the boon
        Of endless summer noon.
    Look down, from star to star,
    And see the centuries,—a flock of birds, afar.        20
  Afar! But we, each one God’s sentinel,
    Lifting on high the torches that are His,
    Look forth to one another o’er the abyss,
  And cry, Eternity,—and all is well!
    So ever journey we, and only know        25
    The way is His, and unto Him we go.
Through all the voiceless desert of the air
        Through all the star-dust there,
    Where none has ever gone,
    Still singing, seeking still, we wander on and on.        30
  O brother Planets, ye to whom I cry,
    Yet hath a strange dream touched me; for a cloud
    Flared like a moth, within mine eyes. I bowed
  My head, and, looking down through all the sky,
    I saw the little Earth, far down below,—        35
    The Earth that all the wandering winds do know.
Like some ground-bird, the small, beloved one
        Fluttered about the sun.
    Ah, were that little star
    Only a signal-light of love for us, afar!        40


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