July 2, 2012

Dolson: a moonless waste

Eugene C. Dolson was born on July 2, 1860 in Cato, New York and, though he developed an early interest in poetry, did not attempt publishing his own poems until 23 years old. He became more active — as both a poet and short story writer — after the turn of the century. Among his short lyrics is "Two Dreams":

In the winter time, when the nights were long,
And the storm-clouds rolled in a ghostly throng
     Over a moonless waste of sky,
She dreamed of a night in the summer time
When a vow and a kiss and a wedding chime
     Would brighten her life while the years went by.

'Tis summer time and the flowers have come;
The bird's glad song and the insect's hum
     Float on the air as the zephyrs blow,
But she sees in her dreams at eventide,
A marble shaft on the cold hillside
     Where a grave is buried deep in the snow.

Many of his other poems are just as poignant: short, simple poems using very visceral imagery meant to evoke an obvious emotional response. Not all of his poems are as melancholy as "Two Dreams," but a similar sentiment is conveyed in his later poem "Footprints" (published in 1921, it shows a style in tune with writing of the early 20th century):

Only yesterday
I traced your footprint
On the shore of the sea;
But the tides flow,
And the tides ebb.
Today there is no track
In the sand.

Once you've stept lightly,
Very lightly,
Over my heart.
It was long ago,
But the footprint lingers.

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