Fair Tombstone sits high on her hills
Midst Arizona's rolling plains,
Where low-ridged mountains stand apart,
Like scattered links of broken chains.
The mountain builder changed his plan,
And left these monstrous boulders out,
As boys play with ungainly blocks
And leave them scattered all about.
Like some great chessboard of the gods,
With castles down and game half-played;
Or mastless ships in Arctic sea,
Locked in eternal ice blockade,
So pure the air that distance doth
The measuring eye ever deceive.
Could Italy behold this sky
She would with sunset-envy grieve.
With summer's midday sun aglow--
Like angels, from no one knows where,
Come softest swan-down cumuli,
Great sunshades lifted in mid-air;
Or plumed battalions, motionless,
Till marshaled on by evening's breeze;
Their dazzling whiteness none describes,
Nor half believes until he sees.
The sun makes battle with the earth,
Two ancient warriors loath to yield;
Achilles' golden speark breaks through
Hector's uplifted silver shield;
Strange figures crowd the gazer's mind,
As gorgeous visions come and go,
Moved slowly by the unseen hand,
In wondrous panoramic show.
The sun, with fiery eye aslant,
Glares through the day's slow-closing door;
The hills grow red, and shadows drop
In canyons unobserved before;
The twilight glory gleams athwart
The azure canvas stretched on high,
While heaven's great artist deftly paints
His sunset fresco on the sky.
Then Nature spreads her patchwork out,
Of purple, crimson, yellow, gilt,
And all the tinted glory blends
To make her evening "Crazy Quilt."
The east reflects the western glow
That blushes up the arching sky,
And nimble fingers lay the work,
While fast the golden needles fly.
White velvet at the north cuts off,
Where yellow satin 'gins to fade;
The orange lying higher up,
Where pink silk blocks the red brocade;
The antique patterns down the east,
With quilted satins mildly blend;
While dark maroon grades softly down
To deepest purple at the end,
Whose rumpled border, tassel frayed,
Hangs o'er the distant mountain edge,
As peacocks drag their ponderous tails,
Or, clumsy, fly the cypress hedge.
The eye sweeps 'round with level gaze;
And every cloud has gay attire;
While all the heavens catch the glare
Of that celestial prairie fire
Along the west. The world's ablaze!
It seems as though the end were near
To see the black smoke in the south,
And Gabriel's thunder-trumpet hear;
A cloud moves up the glowing west,
Dropping its wine in colored rain,
As border-maker for the quilt,
Trailing red fringe along the main.
The patchwork done--lo! from the south,
Scaling the mountain's bold redoubt,
With onslaught of fierce regiments,
The Storm King throws his Black Flag out
As lining dark, while nimble winds
Stretch it beneath. To baste it tight
The lightning darts with zigzag stitch
Adown the velvet of the night.