The Long Steel Road

Josephine Spencer

The long, steel road,* like a silver thread
Crosses the stretch of the desert bed;
Through sage-sewn miles of burning sand
It spreads a sinuous, shining band,
And through its magic--time and space
Fade out in spells of whirlwind pace.

Across its path the lizards creep,
Roused from a long and listless sleep
To see in the shining track a sword
That threatens death to the useless horde
Of desert creatures that have held
The land in liege through time un-spelled.

Where snake and lizard breed and thrive,
Where scorpions in sand-dunes hive,
The steel road weaves a wizard charm
To still their taunts of death, or harm;
And where they fattened--herds shall low,
And emerald grasses wave and blow.

Along its way, fair spots, unknown
To human eye, through ages lone--
Unfold their beauties, borne anear
By the steel highway--charioteer
Of Destiny--to give the world
Treasures so long from vision furled.

Its tread wipes out the desert miles;
Bold peak to sloping sea-shore smiles;
Light craft that ply an inland sea
Signal old ocean's argosy,
And orange groves to Oquirrh fields
Trumpets the tie the steel road wields.

From Wasatch wall to harbor gate--
Its girdle, like a band of fate,
Links in an endless amity
Two cities, pledged by Destiny
To be twin comrades in a toil
That yet shall win the desert's soil
From age on age of sere repose
To bud, and blossom as the rose!

*The Salt Lake route.

Other 19th-century Mormon poetry

Mormon Literature

[Sampler | Bibliography | Criticism | Who's Who | What's Where | AML-List]

Please send your updates, corrections, or comments to Gideon Burton: