I sit among the
With Aristotle on my knees
And turn with serious hand the pages,
Lost in the cobweb-hush of ages;
When suddenly with no more sound
Than any sunbeam on the ground,
The little hermit of the place
Is peering up into my face—
The slim gray hermit of the rocks,
With bright, inquisitive, quick eyes,
His life a round of harks and shocks,
A little ripple of surprise.
Now lifted up, intense and still,
Sprung from the silence of the hill
He hangs upon the ledge a-glisten.
And his whole body seems to listen!
My pages give a little start,
And he is gone! to be a part
Of the old cedar’s crumpled bark.
A mottled scar, a weather mark!
in Lincoln and Other Poems.
I lived in a region of remote sounds. On Russian Hill I looked down as from a balloon; all there is of the stir of the city comes in distant bells and whistles, changing their sound, just as scenery moves, according to the state of the atmosphere. The islands shift as if enchanted, now near and plain, then removed and dim. The bay widening, sapphire blue, or narrowing, green and gray, or, before a storm, like quicksilver.
EMMA FRANCES DAWSON,
in An Itinerant House.
Although we dread earthquakes with all their resultant destruction, yet it is well to recognize the fact that if it were not for them we would find here in California little of that wonderful scenery of which we are so proud. Our earthquakes are due to movements similar to those which, through hundreds of thousands of years, have been raising the lofty mountains of the Cordilleran region. The Sierra Nevada range, with its abrupt eastern scarp nearly two miles high, faces an important line of fracture along which movements have continued to take place up to the present time.
HAROLD W. FAIRBANKS,
in The Great Earthquake Rift of California.
Three years have passed, oh, City! since
A smoking shambles—stricken by the lust
Of Nature’s evil passions. In a day
I saw your splendor crumble into dust.
So vast your desolation, so complete
Your tragedy of ruin that there seemed
Small hope of rallying from such defeat—
Of seeing you arisen and redeemed.
Yet, three short years have marked a sure rebirth
To splendid urban might; a higher place
Among the ruling cities of the earth
And left of your disaster but a trace.
Refined in flame and tempered, as a blade
Of iron into steel of flawless ring—
City of the Spirit Unafraid!
What wondrous destiny the years will bring!