Aurora Borealis

What power disbands the Northern Lights
After their steely play?
The lonely watcher feels an awe
Of Nature’s sway,
As when appearing,
He marked their flashed uprearing
In the cold gloom–
Retreatings and advancings,
(Like dallyings of doom),
Transitions and enhancings,
And bloody ray.

The phantom-host has faded quite,
Splendor and Terror gone
Portent or promise–and gives way
To pale, meek Dawn;
The coming, going,
Alike in wonder showing–
Alike the God,
Decreeing and commanding
The million blades that glowed,
The muster and disbanding–
Midnight and Morn.

by Herman Melville (1819-1891)


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