University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Gilman, James W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XIX, Number 5 (March 1920)

Dummer, Frances
Mojave,   pp. 134-135

Page 134

(Continued from page 132)
As I crept along through the crimson wheat,
Mike got lost from me.
To left or right,
He was not in sight.
Then I thought of the old Banshee.
At night the fighting slacked a bit,
So I looked about for my mate.
Through broken wire
Machine gun fire-
Till I heard his thick voice prate,
"The dirty, blithering, bum shooting Hun,
What shot me in the chist."
"Sh, Mike," says I,
"If you're going to die,
Them's cruel harsh words, desist.
"Tho' it grieves me, pal, to see you so,
I guess you win that bet.
It looks to me
Like the old Banshee
Has plunged me into debt."
"Pat," says he as he looked at me,
"I'll die, but I won't be wrong.
We'll make that bet
A heavenly debt.
Don't keep me waiting long."
A quiver, a twitch, poor Mike lay still,
He had died to prove his case.
Tho' it may seem a sin,
He croaked with a grin
And the smile stayed on his face.
Silence, and heat, and the worn, gray plain;
And very far,
Vibrant with intense light,
White-blue-with never a restful cloud
Or stain of smoke,
Not even a buzzard, slow floating,
Wheeling in the sun, to break
The unvarying expanses of the sky.
Burned mountains, crisp and smoothed by distance
Block the horizon line in flat profile of ragged form-
Mesquite and sand,
Stark sage that has no color
Mile on mile reach out, contracted by the weary eye.
In luminous solidity the foot hills flow
Viscous at sunrise;
Black blots of a sea of overpowering radiance;
The glow of sundown in a vast tranquility
Impregnates earth with color.
Loneliness, longing, a dull searing pain;
A sense persistent-something of life left out;
Tense, pale, feverish with desire,
And strong in doubt imperishable
Of all creation's reason-
An eternal why.
March 1920

Go up to Top of Page