Poem: The Song of the Mountain
'Twas on Coolwater mountain in Idaho
   Where my lookout cabin clung,
Anchored to granite above the snow,
   In the mists where the storm clouds hung.
It was named for the crystalline water drawn
   From the spring by the balsam trees;
Cool as the frost in the early dawn,
   And as pure as the mountain breeze.
'Twas to this lofty peak on the ancient trail
   Trodden deep in the stony loam,
That, earnest as knights of the Holy Grail,
   Pilgrim Indians loved to roam.
For ten days every Indian lad of ten
   Must fast on that peak alone,
Where a marmot shall teach him the song that men
   Have pronounced the Great Spirit's own.
Then, after his vigil our boy returns
   To declare to his tribe in song
All the bravery he gains and the trust he learns
   Of that spirit all wise and strong.
But whenever I asked of that Indian lad
   The quest of his pilgrimage,
"Pick em berries," he answered the strange white man
   Who might laugh at the youthful sage.
For how could he tell in his halting tongue
   To a white man of city ways
The hymn that the Indians all had sung
   At the end of their fasting days?
It is only the man who has lived alone 
   With all nature his daily guide,
And has taken God's song as his very own
   Who can hear it way down inside.
So you who would hear your Creator speak
   As no orator ever can,
Climb up to the crest of that mountain peak
   Where God's work is revealed to man.
There's a song in the glory of flower-clad buttes
   Flashing purple and gold and red,
Where the bear grass tosses white-tasseled shoots
   At the nutcrackers overhead,
And the trim dark spruces with limbs arrayed
   To weather the sleet and storm,
And the cushion of balsam and pine trees laid
   On the chasm's bold granite form.
You shall sing of the friendly and boundless view
   Of mountains and mists and sky,
For none can be lonesome or sad or blue,
   In the presence of God so high.
There the Maker of all of this grand display
   Stands eager to guide your hand,
By making a garden in this grand way,
   Just to help you to understand.
For the lowliest lichen upon that peak
   Grown fast to that granite stone,
Is a ballad more worthy of Godly pride
   Than any that man has known.
G. A. Burrows
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