Far Horizons

by Bliss Carman




THERE is a Place of Vision,
Where the youth of the Kootenays,
At the approach of Manhood,
Came in the olden days,—

Awaiting the breath of the Spirit,

Alone with the mountains lone,
Each through vigil and fasting
To receive a sign of his own;

A clearing high on a shoulder
Of the lovely Beaverfoot Range

Above the Columbia Valley,
Watching the Seasons change;

A place apart and enchanted,
Surcharged with mystery,—
The breath of things unuttered

And might we cannot see.

There where the wild deer bedded
They trusted the wilderness way.
There with the stars on the ranges
They learned to watch and obey.

Schooled in the deeper knowledge,
Submitting body and will
According to tribal teaching
To a teaching older still,

With exaltation of spirit

And courageous heart’s desire,
Their eager souls were illumined
With a touch of mystic fire.

They crossed the threshold of being
Where the cruder senses fail,

And passed the portals of wisdom
That lead to the Shining Trail.

They stood on the verge of creation
In the sweep of the wheeling sun,
In the spell of Magian powers

Where Maker and man are one.

So, even so came the vision
Of the way they must choose and take,
Clear as dawn on the ranges
Bidding the valleys awake.


So, even so came the message,
The law they must learn and keep,
Clear as the wind of morning
Parting the mists of sleep.

Steeped in unnumbered summers

And the peace that has no name,
Lies the place of purified watching
Where the revelation came.

There stands a dead pine guarding
A ring of broken stone.

Lightly we say unheeding,
“The gods have deserted their own!”

Nay, it is we have forgotten
Whence cometh wisdom and might,
Shutting the door on vision,

Turning our backs to the light.

From him who desireth greatly
No wisdom shall be concealed,
To him the future is present,—
All secrets shall be revealed.


In solitude, silence and beauty,
On many a lonely hill
The word on the wind is waiting,
The vision is gleaming still.