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.