The Black Vulture
by George Sterling
(1869–1926)

Aloof upon the day’s immeasured dome,
He holds unshared the silence of the sky.
Far down his bleak, relentless eyes descry
The eagle’s empire and the falcon’s home—
Far down, the galleons of sunset roam;
His hazards on the sea of morning lie;
Serene, he hears the broken tempest sigh
Where cold sierras gleam like scattered foam.

And least of all he holds the human swarm—
Unwitting now that envious men prepare
To make their dream and its fulfillment one,
When, poised above the caldrons of the storm,
Their hearts, contemptuous of death, shall dare
His roads between the thunder and the sun.

Sterling, George. The House of Orchids and Other Poems. (San Francisco: A. M. Robertson, 1911).

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