Celia Thaxter

Jun 29, 1835 - Aug 25, 1894


Under The Electric Light

by Celia Thaxter


Illustrated by F. H. Lungren

How cold and still! The keen, clear air
Sparkles with snow-dust crystalline;
To right, to left, and everywhere
The great lamps of the city shine.
Against the distant darkness dense
The huge electric torches blaze,
Colorless suns of light intense
That send on every side their rays;
White, blinding orbs that dazzling flare
O'er the cold snow with colder glare.

In years gone by, when lightning flashed
Piercing the sky with zigzag fire,
And at its heels the thunder crashed
Pealing through heaven, an awful choir,
Men little thought this mighty king
Among the elements could be
Their friend! Nay, a more humble thing,
Their slave, to serve them faithfully,
Fetch news and carry, go and come,
And meekly light their children home!

I wonder, in this latter time,
If any ponder on the man
Whose mind, persistent and sublime,
So far before his century ran.
His genius high the sages mocked,
They jeered at him who calmly cast
His pearls before them and unlocked
The treasures of a knowledge vast.
But still he scaled heaven's dizzy height,
To bring us the electric light!


Idyls And Pastorals: A Home Gallery Of Poetry And Art
Copyright 1886
D. Lothrop And Company,
Franklin And Hawley Streets,