When the dumb darkness most heavily clings,
Rhythmic and ruthless my pendulum swings.
Rustily creaking or whining dismay,
Urging each tarrying moment away.
Longing, it seems, for the days that are fled,
Down ancient stairways resounds someone's tread.
Heavy the footfall on flagstones unlit,—
Lower and lower and down to the pit.
Praying, it seems, for a long-vanished shore,
Dumbly the Helmsman with slow stubborn oar
Brokenly rows me, morosely alone,
Into my harbor, afar and unknown.
Evil the Ferryman, darkly he pounds;
Farther and farther, more muffled resounds,
Hostile and hopeless, the long downward climb:
Cold, ineluctable footsteps of Time.