In Death Valley

There came gray stretches of volcanic plains,   
Bare, lone and treeless, then a bleak lone hill
Like to the dolorous hill that Dobell saw.   
Around were heaps of ruins piled between   
The Burn o’ Sorrow and the Water o’ Care;   
And from the stillness of the down-crushed walls
One pillar rose up dark against the moon.   
There was a nameless Presence everywhere;   
In the gray soil there was a purple stain,   
And the gray reticent rocks were dyed with blood—
Blood of a vast unknown Calamity.            
It was the mark of some ancestral grief—
Grief that began before the ancient Flood.

More Poems by Edwin Markham