I looked upon the purple hills
That rise in steps to yonder peaks,
And all my soul their silence thrills
And to my heart their beauty speaks.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
What now to me the jars of life,
Its petty cares, its harder throes?
The hills are free from toil and strife,
And clasp me in their deep repose.
They soothe the pain within my breast
No power but theirs could ever reach,
They emblem that eternal rest
We cannot compass in our speech.
From far I feel their secret charm-
From far they shed their healing balm,
And lost to sense of grief or harm
I plunge within their pulseless calm.
Table Rock Park
How full of peace and strength they stand,
Self-poised and conscious of their weight!
We rise with them, that silent band,
Above the wrecks of Time or Fate;
For, mounting from their depths unseen,
Their spirit pierces upward, far,
A soaring pyramid serene,
And lifts us where the angels are.
I would not lose this scene of rest,
Nor shall its dreamy joy depart;
Upon my soul it is imprest,
And pictured in my inmost heart.
Autumn in the Ozark Mountains
John Rollin Ridge
American Indian poet and newspaper editor
Member of the Cherokee Nation