by: Joaquin Miller (1841-1913)
- HE moon
resumed all heaven now,
- She shepherded the stars below
- Along her wide, white steeps of snow,
- Nor stooped nor rested, where or how.
- She bared her full white breast, she dared
- The sun e'er show his face again.
- She seemed to know no change, she kept
- Carousal constantly, nor slept,
- Nor turned aside a breath, nor spared
- The fearful meaning, the mad pain,
- The weary eyes, the poor dazed brain,
- That came at last to feel, to see
- The dread, dead touch of lunacy.
- How loud the silence! Oh, how loud!
- How more than beautiful the shroud
- Of dead Light in the moon-mad north
- When great torch-tipping stars stand forth
- Above the black, slow-moving pall
- As at some fearful funeral!
- The moon blares as mad trumpets blare
- To marshaled warriors long and loud;
- The cobalt blue knows not a cloud,
- But oh, beware that moon, beware
- Her ghostly, graveyard, moon-mad stare!
- Beware white silence more than white!
- Beware the five-horned starry rune;
- Beware the groaning gorge below;
- Beware the wide, white world of snow,
- Where trees hang white as hooded nun--
- No thing not white, not one, not one!
- But most beware that mad white moon.
- All day, all day, all night, all night
- Nay, nay, not yet or night or day.
- Just whiteness, whiteness, ghastly white,
- Made doubly white by that mad moon
- And strange stars jangled out of tune!
- At last, he saw, or seemed to see,
- Above, beyond, another world.
- Far up the ice-hung path there curled
- A red-veined cloud, a canopy
- That topt the fearful ice-built peak
- That seemed to prop the very porch
- Of God's house; then, as if a torch
- Burned fierce, there flushed a fiery streak,
- A flush, a blush, on heaven's cheek!
- The dogs sat down, men sat the sled
- And watched the flush, the blush of red.
- The little wooly dogs, they knew,
- Yet scarcely knew what they were about.
- They thrust their noses up and out,
- They drank the Light, what else to do?
- Their little feet, so worn, so true,
- Could scarcely keep quiet for delight.
- They knew, they knew, how much they knew
- The mighty breaking up of night!
- Their bright eyes sparkled with such joy
- That they at last should see loved Light!
- The tandem sudden broke all rule;
- Swung back, each leaping like a boy
- Let loose from some dark, ugly school--
- Leaped up and tried to lick his hand--
- Stood up as happy children stand.
- How tenderly God's finger set
- His crimson flower on that height
- Above the battered walls of night!
- A little space it flourished yet,
- And then His angel, His first-born,
- Burst through, as on that primal morn!
POEMS BY JOAQUIN MILLER
"The Yukon" is reprinted
from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.