Mesquite dunes, seen from Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley: photo by Jody Miller, 22 April 2014
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.
Black volcanic sand, Death Valley. Near the Ubehebe Crater. The light has an unearthly glow: photo by Jody Miller, 21 April 2014