Helen Hunt Jackson

(18 October 1830 – 12 August 1885 / Amherst, Massachusetts)

An Arctic Quest Poem by Helen Hunt Jackson


O proudly name their names who bravely sail
To seek brave lost in Arctic snows and seas!
Bring money and bring ships, and on strong knees
Pray prayers so strong that not one word can fail
To pierce God's listening heart!
Rigid and pale,
The lost men's bodies, waiting, drift and freeze;
Yet shall their solemn dead lips tell to these
Who find them secrets mighty to prevail
On farther, darker, icier seas.
I go
Alone, unhelped, unprayed-for. Perishing
For years in realms of more than Arctic snow,
My heart has lingered.
Will the poor dead thing
Be sign to quide past bitter flood and floe,
To open sea, some strong heart triumphing?

Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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