Before Sleep Comes

by Robert Laurence Binyon

Laurence Binyon

Where do you float from, visions that shine ere sleep
Subdues with leaden law
The dancing fires of the brain?--In a shadowy land,
As a king from a tower I saw.
There came startled gazelles, beautifully leaping,
Delicate--hoofed: they were gone,
And the red pomegranate showered its petalled bloom
On the glittering stream alone.
I saw the dust on an Indian plain, and a grove
Where pilgrims went in white:
I saw the mountains, throned upon purple air,
Remote in sculptured light.
And I saw the broadening beams of the early sun
On the pale Pacific melt,
And naked fishermen, idly rocked in a boat;
Their briny nets I smelt.
I saw amid Asian deserts a bed of reeds,
And a heron slowly rose
To the cloud from wild reeds blown by a wind that came
From a land no man yet knows.
And I watched a tall ship gliding out of the mist
By a snow--seamed iron cape.
The smoky wraiths clung round her, but on she stemmed,
Self--willed, a wing--bright shape.
Then all fell dark. Yet still in a trance elate,
And strange to myself I lay.
Here was the black, soft stillness: but where was I?
Far away, far away.

Last updated January 14, 2019