Imperial Purple       

 
Clocks are striking on the hour;

Bells are ringing out the day;

Time with catastrophic power

Drives the sunset world away.

 

Light is going, almost gone;

Dark, how dark, the darkling air;

Laggards, idling from the lawn,

See great shadows everywhere.

 

Now the west, so long in light,

Filled so long with blue and gold,

Is a cavern for the night,

Profoundly deep, profoundly cold.

 

In the morning who supposed

That the flight of time was true?

And at noon the sun disclosed

Nothing dangerously new.

 

Twilight seems the same as dawn

To the laggards idling there

From the further shadowed lawn -

A dust of violets on the air.

 

But these moments come to one,

The moment when the sun has gone:

Then the last lights are undone,

And the heart is most alone.

 

In the darkness now ahead

Few will fathom that the day

Once was like an empire spread

East to west, beyond decay.

 

And at midnight when the cries

Of marauding owls grow shrill,

Silence will absorb the sighs

Of those who thought that light stood still.