by Ella Rhoads Higginson
OULD I were in Alaska this fair night!
Sailing that noble sweep of sapphire sea
Where for a thousand miles continuously
The snow-pearl mountains shimmer, lustrous, white,
Or burn to opals in the northern light.
But once again to gaze with longing eyes
Where sheer from sparkling ocean-depths they rise
To ravish the beholder with delight!
To hear the thunder of the waves that break
Full on some glacier’s proud and splendid breast,
Where Color moves with wingèd sandals shod;
Once more to voyage to the purple West;
To feel my soul with speechless rapture ache—
My praying heart swell big and sweet with God!
(published in The Vanishing Race and Other Poems, 1911)
ELLA RHOADS HIGGINSON (January 28, 1862?-December 27, 1940) was a prominent American author. She wrote award-winning fiction, poetry, and essays characteristically set in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. She was the author of two collections of short stories, six books of poetry, a novel, a travel book, well over one hundred short stories, over four hundred poems, and numerous newspaper essays. She was influential for the ways her writing drew international attention to the then little-known Pacific Northwest region of the United States.
Bio quoted from Dr. Laura Laffrado’s Western Washington University research page at http://faculty.wwu.edu/laffrado/research.shtml