The mountains stand there still.
Towering giants in rocky armor
Royal sentinels of the Alaskan Guard.
Thick green their tunics of birch and pine
Sheer white their helmets of sun-beaming snow
And icy sabers in crystal scabbards
Hang from earthen belts of blackened sod.
There in the dusk of violet shadow
The piercing eye can see
The deepening crevices of countless centuries
Etched in those imperious faces
Of glacier-hewn stone.
But my time is gone
Turned to dust in the arctic wind
And no more
My eyes behold imperial splendor
No more my heart sing in the stinging cold
Free from the smoke of city steel.
Yes I did sing
My winged spirit sailed o’er those rocky crags
And flew unbounded toward the low-lying sun.
Full in the face of the golden moon
My heart cried exultantly in the blue-diamond night
To hear the silence of a time-stopped river
Frozen in starlight on the ground below.
Yet a memory lives
When reality dies
And there in the darkness of a Brooklyn street
I will remember
And sing again
For the mountains stand there still.
(Previously published in Shadyvale Magazine, Fall 1999)
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Comments about this poem (Alaskan Farewell by Laurence Overmire )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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