Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Poems by Joaquin Miller

The Voice of the Dove
Come, listen O love, to the voice of the dove,
Come, hearken and hear him say,
"There are many Tomorrows, my love, my love,
There is only one Today."
Dedicated to his daughter, Juanita, on her 10th birthday.



To lord all Godland! lift the brow

Familiar to the moon, to top

The universal world, to prop

The hollow heavens up, to vow

Stern constancy with stars, to keep

Eternal watch while eons sleep;

To tower proudly up and touch

God's purple garment-hems that sweep

The cold blue north! Oh, this were much!

Where storm-born shadows hide and hunt

I knew thee, in thy glorious youth,

And loved thy vast face, white as truth;

I stood where thunderbolts were wont

To smite thy Titan-fashioned front,

And heard dark mountains rock and roll;

I saw the lightning's gleaming rod

Reach forth and write on heaven's scroll

The awful autograph of God!

The Ship in the Desert
By Arizona's sea of sand
Some bearded miners, gray and old,
And resolute in search of gold,
Sat down to tap the savage land.
They tented in a canñon's mouth
That gaped against the warm wide south,
And underneath a wave-wash'd wall,
Where now nor rains nor winds may fall,
They delved the level salt-white sands
For gold, with bold and hornéd hands.
A miner stood beside his mine,
He pull'd his beard, then look'd away
Across the level sea of sand,
Beneath his broad and hairy hand,
A hand as hard as knots of pine.
"It looks so like a sea," said he.
He pull'd his beard, and he did say,
"It looks just like a dried-up sea."
Again he pull'd that beard of his,
But said no other thing than this.
A stalwart miner dealt a stroke,
And struck a buried beam of oak.
An old ship's beam the shaft appear'd,
With storm-worn faded figure-head.
The miner twisted, twirled his beard,
Lean'd on his pick-axe as he spoke:
"'Tis from some long-lost ship," he said,
"Some laden ship of Solomon
That sail'd these lonesome seas upon
In search of Ophir's mine, ah me!
That sail'd this dried-up desert sea." ...
Nay, nay, 'tis not a tale of gold,
But ghostly land storm-slain and old.
BIO: "Joaquin Miller" was the pseudonym for Cincinnatus Heine Miller, who was born September 8, 1837 and died February 17, 1913. He is celebrated as the "Poet of the Sierras." He moved to California during the Gold Rush Era and became a frontier man. His adventures in the West included Indian fighting, mining camp cook, lawyer, judge, newspaper writer and editor, Pony Express Rider, and horse thief. He was a Confederate sympathizer. In 1897, he traveled to Alaska as a newspaper correspondent. He had a lifelong reputation for dishonesty and womanizing. His wife, Theresa Dyer Miller, divorced him for neglect.

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