The air is chill, and the day grows late,
And the clouds come in through the Golden Gate:
Phantom fleets they seem to me,
From a shoreless and unsounded sea;
Their shadowy spars and misty sails,
Unshattered, have weathered a thousand gales:
Slow wheeling, lo! In squadrons gray,
They part, and hasten along the bay;
Each to its anchorage finding way.
Where the hills of Saucelito swell,
Many in gloom may shelter well;
And others--behold--unchallenged pass
By the silent guns of Alcatraz:
No greetings of thunder and flame exchange
The armè d isle and the cruisers strange.
Their meteor flags, so widely blown,
Were blazoned in a land unknown;
So, charmed from war or wind or tide,
Along the quiet wave they glide. What bear these ships?--what news, what freight,
Do they bring us through the Golden Gate?
Sad echoes to words in gladness spoken,
And withered hopes to the poor heart-broken:
Oh, how many a venture we
Have rashly sent to the shoreless sea!
How many an hour have you and I,
Sweet friend, in sadness seen go by,
While our eager, longing thoughts were roving
Over the waste, for something loving,
Something rich and chaste and kind,
To brighten and bless a lonely mind;
And only waited to behold
Ambition's gems, affection's gold,
Return as remorse, and a broken vow,
In such ships of mist as I see now. The air is chill, and the day grows late,
And the clouds come in through the Golden Gate,
Freighted with sorrow, heavy with woe; --
But these shapes that cluster, dark and low,
Tomorrow shall be all aglow!
In the blaze of the coming morn these mists,
Whose weight my heart in vain resists,
Will brighten and shine, and soar to heaven,
In thin white robes, like souls forgiven;
For Heaven is kind, and everything,
As well as a winter, has a spring.
So, praise to God! Who brings the day
That shines our regrets and fears away;
For the blessed morn I can watch and wait,
While the clouds come in through the Golden Gate.