Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dimming trails of other days ...

There's no doubt that Montana has one of the strongest literary traditions of any of the states, and it's one that extends back all the way to our frontier era. One of my favorite Montana authors from a century ago is a man named Frank Bird Linderman ... a fine storyteller and artist who lived on the Hi-Line and in the Flathead Lake country. His books are filled with wonderfully evocative tales of Montana's Native Americans and frontiersmen.

Today's entry is a sentimental poem by Linderman, printed as an introduction to his 1920 book On A Passing Frontier: Sketches from the Northwest. The volume is dedicated "to the good town of Malta, and to the camps in the Little Rockies where the old west is making it's last stand."
O, dimming trails of other days,
Your lure, your glamour, and your ways
Will last while those who knew you live,
And, fading, to the past will give,
To guard and to forever hold,
A wealth of stories never told.
The winters pass and take their toll;
Where tramped the bear now crawls the mole,
And grasses, spurning steps so light,
Are blotting you from human sight.
The same winds blow, the seasons change,
But white men's ways are hard and strange;
We tread on ants, and lo ! 'tis thus
Eternity will tread on us.


  1. You sentimental devil, you!

    Hopefully, though, eternity won't tread on either one of us for a good long while ...