The Camp Fire's Song

I reared your fathers long ago —
Big, savage children — from the breast,
But in the circle of my glow
You sit to-night a haughty guest,
For far beyond their artless day
Your lofty trail has stretched away.
So wise! so wise!
But still the child is in your eyes.

Your fathers feared the club and claw,
Their days were full of fight and flight;
Behind you stands your mighty law
To guard your lonely sleep to-night,
Or, if some lawless brute run free,
A rifle gleams across your knee.
So strong! so wise!
But still the fear is in your eyes.

They filled their little tents with spoil,
Then vaguely longed for greater things;
Your shining cities spurn the soil
And through your valleys plenty sings;
You span the seas they endless deemed
And rule a world they never dreamed.
So great! so wise!
But still their longing in your eyes.

They made them gods of flood and fire;
With simple awe they watched the stars;
You bend all powers to your desire;
The river gods must draw your cars,
The drudging fire gods drive your fleets,
The lightning slaves about your streets.
So proud! so wise!
Yet their old wonder in your eyes!

They dreamed a god might in them dwell
Who lived beyond the silenced heart;
You know your mortal self so well —
A wondrous thing in every part,
But earthbound as this gaunt mesquite
Or firelit dust about your feet.
So hard! so wise!
But still the god is in your eyes.

Poor little primal thing am I,
Great stranger, yet I mock your lore;
Your thickest volumes often lie
And these still stars could tell you more,
The wind that sighs across the sand
Or I, but could you understand?
So wise! so wise!
A puzzled child within your eyes.