Ambrose Bierce

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

The Valley Of The Shadow Of Theft - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

In fair Yosemite, that den of thieves
Wherein the minions of the moon divide
The travelers' purses, lo! the Devil grieves,
His larger share as leader still denied.

El Capitan, foreseeing that _his_ reign
May be disputed too, beclouds his head.
The joyous Bridal Veil is torn in twain
And the crepe steamer dangles there instead.

The Vernal Fall abates her pleasant speed
And hesitates to take the final plunge,
For rumors reach her that another greed
Awaits her in the Valley of the Sponge.

The Brothers envy the accord of mind
And peace of purpose (by the good deplored
As honor among Commissioners) which bind
That confraternity of crime, the Board.

The Half-Dome bows its riven face to weep,
But not, as formerly, because bereft:
Prophetic dreams afflict him when asleep
Of losing his remaining half by theft.

Ambitious knaves! has not the upper sod
Enough of room for every crime that crawls
But you must loot the Palaces of God
And daub your filthy names upon the walls?


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Poem Submitted: Monday, October 1, 2012



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