Song of a Comet
Pale plummet of the stark immensities,
From perished heavens cast, I fall and flare
Through gulfs by stellar orbits girdled round;
And spaces bare
Of sparkless night between the galaxies—
By path of sun nor circling planet bound.
No star allots my lone and cyclic gyre;
I mark the systems vanish one by one;
Among the swarming worlds I lunge,
And sudden plunge
Close to the zones of solar fire;
Or ' mid the mighty wrack of stars undone,
Flash, and with momentary rays
Compel the dark to yield
Their aimless forms, whose once far-potent blaze
In ashes chill is now inurned.
Upon the shadowy heavens half-revealed,
I show their planets turned,
Whose strange ephemerae,
On adamantine tablets deeply written,
In cities long unlitten,
Have left their history
And lore beyond redemption or surmise.
Adown contiguous skies,
I pass the thickening brume
Of systems yet unshaped, that hang immense
Along mysterious shores of gloom;
Or see—unimplicated in their doom—
The final and disastrous gyre
Of blinded suns that meet,
And from their mingled heat
And battle-clouds intense,
Overspread the deep with fire.
Upon the Lion's track,
Or far beyond the abysms of the Lyre,
I thread, through mazes of the zodiac,
Mine orbit placed amid
The multiple and irised stars, or hid,
Unsolved and intricate,
In many a planet-swinging sun's estate.
At times I steal in solitary flight
Along the rim of the exterior night
That rounds the universe;
And then return,
Past outer footholds of sidereal light,
To see the systems gather and disperse;
What vast and multifarious marvels wait
In the dim void that has no ultimate;
What wraiths of suns extinguished long ago
On alien welkins burn;
What flaming blossoms grow
From the black battlefields of cosmic wars;
What stellar hells, or ampler spheres sublime,
Enisled in diverse time,
Are wrought from sharded moons and meteors;
And haply I discern
What paler fires, to mine own self akin,
Still haunt the night's eternal corridors,
Or in the toils of great Arcturus spin.
Then, restless still, I rise
Through vaults of mightier gloom, to watch the dark
Snatch at the flame of failing suns;
That midden of the stagnant nadir skies
Where many a fated orbit runs.
An arrow sped from some forgotten bow,
Through change of firmaments and systems sent,
And finding bourn nor bars,
I fly, nor know
For what remoter mark my flight is meant.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1961, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.