06 November 2013

The Loon - Great Northern Diver; An 1881 Poem

By B.W. Ball.
Winged correlate of moose, bear, caribou,
Creatures of sylvan nature's savage mood,
With primitive and uncouth forms indued,
And cries and voices keyed to solitude,
Such screams and walls as ancient nature knew,
When man in caves still articulate grew.
Lone lakes remote thy lavatories be;
Eluding in their depths the hunter's eye,
Thou taunt'st him from afar with clamorous cry,
As of derisive laughter, maniac glee.
Where falls the shadow of the desert pine
On coves of wild-wood meres thou oars't thy way
With swan-like stateliness at day's decline,
Startling with screams unearthly twilight gray.
Deepening the weirdness of the forest old,
Which, hushed and sad, seems brooding on the days
When mammoths, crashing, roamed its branchy maze,
And beasts and men were of a huger mold,
In immemorial years of that far past,
Oh, raucous bird, thy kindred screamed and dived,
And with the moose and reindeer have survived,
Where primitive woods their mystic shadows cast,
In a still vigorous progeny, which soon
The hunter's rifle will exterminate,
Sole live things of the world's primeval state,
Still stirring in the light of sun and moon,
As fast as vanishes the forest gloom,
Wild creatures of its shades must meet their doom.
June 23, 1881. Forest and Stream 16(21): 406. From the Boston Herald.