Poem: The Utah Pioneer

Quill pen on an old book in a library
This article originally appeared in Vol.1 No.6-7 (1936-37) of Pioneer Magazine
By W/M. (Billie) Lee, Ogden, Utah

Suggested by a panoramic picture “The Pioneer”, painted by my dear friend,- the late Thomas [Tom] Slight

In fender dreams I gazed across the vale of drifted years

In fancy’s eye; entranced; I saw the Utah Pioneers

With”tumbrel cart and caravan uncharted wastes were trod

Each heart elate with fervent hope and constant trust in God,

The journey’s end, I too discerned^the sun was sinking low,

High mountain crests and rugged cliffs were tinged with sunset glow,

The western blue, horizon was streaked with shafts of gold,

All nature seemed inviting to those Pioneers of old.

I lingered yet in muse sublime, enrapt in vistas grand

The sparkling streams, the crystal lake with shore of glistening sand,

The show-clad’ peaks, the canyons deep, the source of lakes, and streams,

The; attributes of Natures gifts were everywhere it “seethed?

In softest gloom at eventide beside a woodland glade

A circled file of caravans had formed a barricade,

I saw the. sturdy sentinels survey each knoll and butte

With watchful eye they stood on guard to check the Stealthy Ute;

In reverie I lingered still and viewed a pleasing scene

Within the chain-like barricade I saw content serene

Strains from an old melodeon vibrated o’er the lea

Its resonance, imbued each soul with blissful ecstasy.

The toil-worn stock I too observed, were browsing on a green,

Where the herbage was abundant,, near the margin of a stream,

When lo! a faithful; watchdog, whose senses were acute,

Was warding off what seemed to be, a sly evasive Lite,

In sleepless dream my thoughts still bent upon traditions old.

I saw war-painted warriors with visage grim and bold

From out the vast and wild expanse 1 heard a savage yell;

And then a tom-tom’s mystic tone inciting passions fell.

The night was bright with soft moonlight, the sky bedecked with stars

A glaring blaze from withered sage shot up with flashing flares

Infernal’ shades demoniacal silhoutted o’er the; dell

They looked like spectres in the night released from throes of hell.

No trembling fear to blight their hope had seized the Pioneer.

They knew that soon in counter march the vanguard would appear,

A rumbling sound vet faint was heard, it gained each listening ear,

The thundering hoofs of flying steeds implied relief was near.

The Indian braves amazed it seemed had ceased their wild rampage.

They watched the speeding cavalcade come bounding o’er the sane

They knew full well they could not quell this resolute array;

They little knew- these riders were adverse to fued, or fray.

From .out the,circled barricade a man with courteous mien

Went forth and faced the Indians, defiant, yet serene,

His gestures were significant of friendship, not of ire

His courage met with no rebuke nor stern derisions dire.

Nearby the chieftain’s big Tepee; I saw a wondrous sight.

The pale face and, the Indian allied in friendship’s plight.

The pipe of peace whose whorling smoke was wafted toward the sky,

Symbolic that unfriendliness, had winged’ its flight for aye.

Within the girded barricade, where trust had banished fear,

I saw that grim and warlike band received with hearts sincere.

An unpretentious barbecue of buffalo and deer.

Encouraged lasting friendship twixt Ute and Pioneer.

A song of praise I seemed to hear, ’twas passing sweet, the strain

It came from where a campfire glowed, and voiced an old refrain,

Just once again to live in dreams when sombre night is near

To hear re-echoed through the years the song of the Pioneer.

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