Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

The Sunset Gun - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

Off Santa Cruz the western wave
Was crimson as with blood:
The sun was sinking to his grave
Beneath that angry flood.

Sir Walter Turnbull, brave and stout,
Then shouted, 'Ho! lads; run-
The powder and the ball bring out
To fire the sunset gun.

'That punctual orb did ne'er omit
To keep, by land or sea,
Its every engagement; it
Shall never wait for me.'

Behold the black-mouthed cannon stand,
Ready with charge and prime,
The lanyard in the gunner's hand.
Sir Walter waits the time.

The glowing orb sinks in the sea,
And clouds of steam aspire,
Then fade, and the horizon's free.
Sir Walter thunders: 'Fire!'

The gunner pulls-the lanyard parts
And not a sound ensues.
The beating of ten thousand hearts
Was heard at Santa Cruz!

Off Santa Cruz the western wave
Was crimson as with blood;
The sun, with visage stern and grave,
Came back from out the flood.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 29, 2012



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