Mist-Pictures by Evelyn M. Watson

watson mist
(At the foot of the American Falls)

watson mist
American Falls from the Canadian side (stereograph), 1902. Courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library

Through drifty silver smoke, that’s opalescent,
The soft-spun rainbows curve, each one a crescent
And we who stand, where once the hoary otter
Trailed sooty moles, behold the self-same water
And revel in the tender-tinted blur
That blows about this perpendicular
Descent these maiden-veils, so evanescent —
One feels the beautiful, our God, a-stir.
From dim concealment whips of color leap,
His many glories, powers, find voice and keep
The living spirit conscious of the deep.

The mind can pierce the past — the fragrant wood —
Each wild flower with its aureole, a snood,
In convents green that shield each sisterhood :
The tallish primrose in its shapely scone
A candle for some barren place of stone.
We see how driven drifts of spray can linger
In opal moonlight, star-companioned : finger
The budding pine tree, tipped with emerald crosses,
And underneath, the cool and long drenched mosses —
We’ve touched the tarnished rocks and silver bosses :
There seems no sadness — other songs malinger.

Again one sees a twisting vine, a rope
Of wild growth twining on a footless slope,
Men descending, English Lord, or cotter,
To catch this very view of misting water. . .
Upon our hands spilt dews, like some baptism
To honor daily idylls, heroism ;
And early Warriors with their many nations
Who gave their Mystic One their bright oblations
Of fruit and flower and youth, like ancient Stoic —
(Soul-courage may not deem itself heroic) —
And now we make ourselves our consecrations.

Within these organ-tones of color-thunder
There tides to mind an old, yet-dim wonder :
Man’s NOT the spider forever clambering down
Old causeways where forbidding rocks shall frown,
Nor yet the soldier with defiant plume. . .
(How many phantoms in this dull-green gloom) —
But here he stands so near the Farther Border
He finds in seeming chaos, love’s deep order,
Serenity behind the cataclysm,
The same sweet rainbow in each haunting prism —
In all this welter, sheerest symmetry,
And then beyond — God’s choice simplicity.
Beyond the auric smoke and dazzling dews,
Beyond these organ-tones that far diffuse
Their song, there’s ever pierceless Mystery,
For far within Man finds himself and Thee.

But there’s more beauty than’s interpreted;
(Beyond the song that’s heard, the song that’s hid,)
And if there’s Immanence within the mists
And Radiance where moon-gold weaves and twists
Strange forms for eyes, there’s greater light within
The heart of man and in the soul there’s been
Implanted Truth — oh, so imperative —
That we, in turn, are kin not fugitive
As slaves, and not idolatrous,
But His Beloved, who asks all love of us,
As mists shall hide the waters from the sight
This beauty-veil conceals, reveals, His Light.

Through drifty silver smoke, that’s opalescent,
The soft-spun rainbows curve, each one a crescent
And we, who stand where once the hoary otter
Trailed sooty moles, behold the self-same water
And revel in the tender-tinted blur
That blows about this perpendicular
Descent these maiden-veils, so evanescent
One feels the beautiful, our God, a-stir.
From dim concealment whips of color leap,
His many glories, powers, find voice and keep
The living spirit conscious of the Deep.

watson mist

Source: Evelyn M. Watson. Poems of the Niagara Frontier. New York: Dean & Company, 1929.

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