American Poetry 1922/The Future


After ten thousand centuries have gone,
Man will ascend the last long pass to know
That all the summits which he saw at dawn
Are buried deep in everlasting snow.

Below him endless gloomy valleys, chill,
Will wreathe and whirl with fighting cloud, driven by the wind's fierce breath;
But on the summit, wind and cloud are still:—
Only the sunlight, and death.

And staggering up to the brink of the gulf man will look down
And painfully strive with weak sight to explore
The silent gulfs below which the long shadows drown;
Through every one of these he passed before.

Then since he has no further heights to climb,
And naught to witness he has come this endless way,
On the wind-bitten ice cap he will wait for the last of time,
And watch the crimson sunrays fading of the world's latest day:

And blazing stars will burst upon him there,
Dumb in the midnight of his hope and pain,
Speeding no answer back to his last prayer,
And, if akin to him, akin in vain.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1928.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1977, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 45 years or less. This work may 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.