Once in the starlight
When the tides were low,
And the surf fell sobbing
To the undertow,
I trod the windless dunes
Alone with Edgar Poe.

Dim and far behind us,
Like a fabled bloom
On the myrtle thickets,
In the swaying gloom
Hung the clustered windows
Of the barrack-room.

Faint on the evening
Tenuous and far
As the beauty shaken
From a vagrant star,
Throbbed the ache and passion
Of an old guitar.

Life closed behind us
Like a swinging gate,
Leaving us unfettered
And emancipate;
Confidants of Destiny,
Intimates of Fate.

I could only cower,
Silent, while the night,
Seething with its planets,
Parted to our sight,
Showing us infinity
In its breadth and height.

But my chosen comrade,
Tossing back his hair
With the old loved gesture,
Raised his face, and there
Shone the agony that those
Loved of God must bear.

Oh, we heard the many things
Silence has to say;
He and I together
As alone we lay
Waiting for the slow, sweet
Miracle of day.

When the bugle's silver
Spiralled up the dawn,
Dew-dear, night-cool,
And the stars were gone,
I arose exultant,
Like a man new born.

But my friend and master,
Heavy-limbed and spent,
Turned, as one must turn at last
From the sacrament;
And his eyes were deep with God's
Burning discontent.

More verses by DuBose Heyward

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