Eighteen Forty-Seven
July 1997

“Eighteen Forty-Seven,” Ensign, July 1997, 42

Eighteen Forty-Seven

A strong-winged eagle from far wind-worn cliffs

Alights upon a white-lined buffalo-skull

With these carved words like faded hieroglyphs

Above the cracked eye-sockets, meaningful:

“Camped here July the second, ‘forty-seven.

We made eight miles today.” The eagle unfurls

Its far-flown wings and skims and soars toward heaven

In easy sweep, where the thin-frothed cirrus curls.

The eagle labors aloft between the clouds

Which plunge their misty walls to the horizon;

Like bleached and billowed sails the sea-wind crowds.

And on the desert swift their shadows run.

But those slow wagon-wheels, tight-choked with clay,

Groaned beneath their loads—eight miles that day.4

  1. Improvement Era, Aug. 1941, 472.