Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Song In Time of Depression

I found the art here. I have no idea how accurate the translation is; the "transcriber" is Mary Hunter Austin.


Now all my singing Dreams are gone
But none knows where they are fled
Nor by what trail they have left me.

Return, O Dreams of my heart,
And sing in the summer twilight,
By the creek and the almond thicket
And the field that is bordered with lupins!

Now is my refuge to seek
In the hollow of friendly shoulders,
Since the singing is stopped in my pulse
And the earth and the sky refuse me;
Now must I hold by the eyes of a friend
When the high white stars are unfriendly.

Over sweet is the refuge of trusting;
Return and sing, O my Dreams,
In the dewy and palpitant pastures,
Till the love of living awakes
And the strength of the hills to uphold me.


  1. I felt a tiny bit guilty posting it, especially at a time when I wasn't feeling depressed. For me, it's an optimistic poem ultimately. But, oh, the speaker knows hard times!

  2. I ran across her work in a religion class a few years back - Mary Hunter Austin is quite a story. She was a sort of Native/Christian syncretist and was quite well known as an amateur (in the best sense) geologist. Hung out with the Jack London and Ambrose Bierce. Her personal life held just about every kind of disaster you could name - your selection could be more autobiography than translation.

    Anyway, she enjoyed an medium sized academic revival in the mid-nineties. I suspect there may be a lot more to learn, but the combination of Native American and Feminist is an academic minefield that I suspect few are interested in risking.

  3. Bill, I will have to learn more about her now. From your hints and the Wikipedia entry, it sounds like she'd be a great subject for a biography.

    Updated the entry. Thanks!


  5. She's very famous in Santa Fe. She's one of the reasons D.H. Lawrence called New Mexico women's country. Mabel Dodge was a kind of cultural anchor in Taos, Mary Austin was Santa Fe's. In fact, one of the rooms at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House is called the Austin room & it's where we usually stay when we visit.

  6. Have you read any of her stuff? Looks interesting.

  7. I haven't read much--mostly just read about her.