PRELUDE From "The New Day"

The night was dark, though sometimes a faint star
A little while a little space made bright.
The night was dark and still the dawn seemed far,
When, o'er the muttering and invisible sea,
Slowly, within the East, there grew a light
Which half was starlight, and half seemed to be
The herald of a greater.  The pale white
Turned slowly to pale rose, and up the height
Of heaven slowly climbed.  The gray sea grew
Rose-colored like the sky.  A white gull flew
Straight toward the utmost boundary of the East
Where slowly the rose gathered and increased.
There was light now, where all was black before:
It was as on the opening of a door
By one who in his hand a lamp doth hold
(Its flame being hidden by the garment's fold), —
The still air moves, the wide room is less dim.
More bright the East became, the ocean turned
Dark and more dark against the brightening sky —
Sharper against the sky the long sea line.
The hollows of the breakers on the shore
Were green like leaves whereon no sun doth shine,
Though sunlight make the outer branches hoar.
From rose to red the level heaven burned;
Then sudden, as if a sword fell from on high,
A blade of gold flashed on the ocean's rim.
Richard Watson Gilder [1844-1909]