Far Horizons

by Bliss Carman


 

A MIRAGE OF THE PLAINS


 

AS I stood on the bank of the river that runs by Saskatoon,
I saw the incredible happen in the sober light of noon.

I looked out over the prairie as far as the eye could see,
And never a stone as big as your hand, and never the sign of a tree;
Only the golden stubble with the first light snow between,

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In the fairy light of a primal world where beauty first was seen.

Then far on the dipped horizon where the sailing cloud-tops show,
I saw, like a ghost in the sunlight, a prairie schooner go.
And after her labored others in a trailing caravan—
Lumbering, crude, ill-fitted—but they carried the hope of man.

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A marvellous train unnumbered, swinging before my gaze,
They passed on into the sundown, and were lost in the lilac haze.
I cleared my eyes of the vision—or the tremor of sunlit-glare—
Only the golden stubble and the sailing clouds were there.

Again I looked to the Northward as far as the eye could range,

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And never a rise nor foothill, never a hint of change,
Till a picture rose before me like a mirage at sea,
Or those wonders of incantation from Indian jugglery.

And I beheld no longer the voyaging clouds hull-down,
But towers of beautiful cities and homes of many a town,

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And over them all was gladness and peace and freedom from care,
And I heard the laughter of children ring on the frosty air.

And over the whispering snowdrift a far-off voice said,
“No man shall injure his neighbor, and none shall make you afraid.
Lo, I am with you always unto the end of the world.”

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Then, as the vision faded, the sails of the clouds were furled.

And there, all round about me, real in the noonday sun,
Stood Houses of Learning and Beauty—the vision’s fulfillment begun.