BRIEF SUMMER IN THE ARCTIC LAND a Poem
BRIEF SUMMER IN THE ARCTIC LAND
THE dog-sledge season now hath pass'd away,
The reindeer team from harness is releas'd,
And merry June, the Arctic summer, comes.
The wandering Chookcheese and Korans leave
Their earth-built cabins at the mountain foot,
To dwell by surges where the salmon leap.
When vanish the last snows from vale and mount,
Boon Nature the hot Arctic summer brings;
And as the genial sunshine earth pervades,
The snowdrifts melt, the icy rivers thaw;
Brown patches show along the warm hillsides,
And earth with flowers and grasses softly smiles.
There is no spring, but hot midsummer reigns,
Chasing away stern winter's ruffian months;
There is no wet, long lingering time of spring,
No slow unfolding of the buds and leavesó
But Summer waves his wand, and all is bloom.
Quick vegetation bursts the icy bonds,
And with one sweep reanimates the world.
Nature comes dancing with her beaming face,
And with a lavish hand pours forth her wealth.
Wax-like petals of the blueberries show;
Primroses, buttercups, and cowslips bloom,
And brighten all the mossy stretches of the plain.
The birches, alders, willows, tremulous flush
With all the greenery of swelling leaves,
The river banks grow green with waving grass;
The warm, still air of day is fill'd with sounds,
The trumpet-like refrain of geese and swans,
Who pierce with wedge-like phalanxes the air,
Winging on stormy pinions to the north.
Innumerable ducks of unknown name
Swarm in each little pool that studs the plain,
While fish-hawks, gulls, and broad-wing'd eagles scream
And hover by the foamy river-mouths,
And all the rocky coast-line is alive
With myriads of the red-beak'd puffin-tribes.
Over the land innumerable fly
The circling swallows, ravens, and the crow;
But only one poor bird, the sparrow, sings.
There is no longer night, but only day.
The fading day melts gradually into night,
And the brief twilight blossoms soon with light.
At noon of night, oue by the window sits,
Inhales the scent of flowers on night winds borne,
Listens to murmurs of the surge afar,
Traces the progress of the hidden sun
By the full flood of rosy light which streams
In the north skies behind the purple mounts.
It is broad daylight, and yet nature sleeps,
And a weird calm pervades.the heavens and earth.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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