The Parting Of Ways

A poem by George William Russell

The skies from black to pearly grey
Had veered without a star or sun;
Only a burning opal ray
Fell on your brow when all was done.

Aye, after victory, the crown;
Yet through the fight no word of cheer;
And what would win and what go down
No word could help, no light make clear.

A thousand ages onward led
Their joys and sorrows to that hour;
No wisdom weighed, no word was said,
For only what we were had power.

There was no tender leaning there
Of brow to brow in loving mood;
For we were rapt apart, and were
In elemental solitude.

We knew not in redeeming day
Whether our spirits would be found
Floating along the starry way,
Or in the earthly vapours drowned.

Brought by the sunrise-coloured flame
To earth, uncertain yet, the while
I looked at you, there slowly came,
Noble and sisterly, your smile.

We bade adieu to love the old;
We heard another lover then,
Whose forms are myriad and untold,
Sigh to us from the hearts of men.

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