Published on Academy of American Poets (

On the Mississippi

Through wild and tangled forests
   The broad, unhasting river flows—
   Spotted with rain-drops, gray with night;
     Upon its curving breast there goes
A lonely steamboat's larboard light,
       A blood-red star against the shadowy oaks;
Noiseless as a ghost, through greenish gleam
Of fire-flies, before the boat's wild scream—
          A heron flaps away
          Like silence taking flight.


From Prairie Songs: Being Chants Rhymed and Unrhymed of the Level Lands of the Great West by Hamlin Garland, published by Stone and Kimball, 1893. This poem is in the public domain.


Hamlin Garland

Hamlin Garland was born Hannibal Hamlin Garland on September 14, 1860 in West Salem, Wisconsin. A poet, novelist, and biographer, Garland was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1922 for his book A Daughter of the Middle Border (Grosset & Dunlap, 1921). He died in Hollywood, California on March 4, 1940.

Date Published: 1893-01-01

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