Immortal Sails

By Alfred Noyes 1880–1958 Alfred Noyes
Now, in a breath, we’ll burst those gates of gold,   
   And ransack heaven before our moment fails.   
Now, in a breath, before we, too, grow old,
   We’ll mount and sing and spread immortal sails.

It is not time that makes eternity.
   Love and an hour may quite out-span the years,   
And give us more to hear and more to see   
   Than life can wash away with all its tears.

Dear, when we part, at last, that sunset sky
   Shall not be touched with deeper hues than this;   
But we shall ride the lightning ere we die
   And seize our brief infinitude of bliss,

With time to spare for all that heaven can tell,   
While eyes meet eyes, and look their last farewell.

Source: Collected Poems (1947)

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Poet Alfred Noyes 1880–1958


Subjects Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Social Commentaries, Mythology & Folklore

Occasions Toasts & Celebrations, Farewells & Good Luck

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Rhymed Stanza

 Alfred  Noyes


Alfred Noyes was born in England and attended Oxford, where he left before completing his degree. He published his first book of poems, The Loom of Years, at age 21, and published five more volumes of poetry in the next five years. In 1914, he began teaching at Princeton University, and became noted for his criticisms of such Modernist writers as James Joyce. Though his early work often evokes fantastic, dream-like, storybook . . .

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SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Social Commentaries, Mythology & Folklore


Poetic Terms Sonnet, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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