The Pilgrim Bard's Poem - Lines (1/15/1899)
(from Scott Cummins book, Musings of the Pilgrim Bard - page 11) --
Written on the trunk of an aged and decaying cottonwood tree that stood on the ban of Salt Fork river on the old Camp Supply trail, an old camping ground.
Before I ever saw the sun
This giant tree from earth did start;
Ye now its race is well nigh run --
Decay has fastened on its heart.
alas, 'tis dying sure and slow --
A gloomy monitor it stands
Guarding the river's shifting sands;
Speak! thou decaying giant -- tell us of the ong ago.
Tell of the savage red man's camp,
tell of the wandering hunter's cheer;
From sorching sun or evening damp
Devil and saint have sheltered here
To plot or pray as seemeth well.
The shaggy bison sought thy shade;
The dun deer 'neath thy branches played;
Oft, too, these wilds re-echoed wolf and mountain lion's yell.
Thy seared old trunk hath many a scar,
Thy gnarled branches crook and twine
As though the elements at war
Had caught thee in their dread confine;
Here, too, the lightning trace I see
Perchance for years you stood aone
Till thine own polen zephyr blown,
Took root in earth and grew a kindred grove to thee.
Beneath and rough thee floods have rolled,
and driftwood in thy boughs have caught,
E'er white man's foot had pressed this wold
Or white man's eye beheld this spot,
I trow 'twere guess work all to try --
In fancy's realm alone we see
This monarch's quaint biography.
The shimmering of the leaflets tell not of the days gone bye.
Mortal, thou may'st a lesson read,
for thou art passing like this tree;
The poor in purse, the ghouls of greed,
None can escape the stern decree;
blind worms are waiting at the goal,
and if thou hast a single spark
To light thee, as the way grows dark.
'Tis this, beyond death's portals, lives the immortal soul.
Pilgrim's Den, Jan. 15, 1899.
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