The poem alludes to Ezra Pound’s Cantos. The phrase, “it gathers the gold against / it,” refers to Canto XVII, which includes the line: “In the gloom, the gold / gathers the light against it.”
This allusion deepens the imagery of the poem, creating a picture of the setting sun over the ocean, the last rays of sunlight look “golden” against the growing darkness and the ocean waves. This image suggests that the end of day (and the end of life) has its own beauty, since the light becomes almost golden at such a time and stands out against the “gloom” of night's (and death's) approach.
The allusion can also be read as connecting the imagery of the poem to archetypal imagery and classical art. In Canto XXI, Pound connects the image of this “gold” in the “gloom” to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a Roman building from Late Antiquity. Pound writes, “Gold fades in the gloom, / Under the blue-black roof, Placidia’s.” The ceiling of this mausoleum is covered in a deep blue mosaic, and late in the day, windows in the mausoleum capture the setting sun, which appears gold against the “gloom” of the ceiling and the building’s interior.
By referencing this line from the Cantos, then, the poem also alludes to what Pound alludes to: an ancient work of art and a mausoleum (or tomb) that, though it was made to hold the dead, still allows in the “gold” light of the setting sun. This infuses the poem's meditation on death with a sense of beauty.