Among the Gods
How close the air of valleys, and how close
The teeming little life that harbors there!
For me, I will climb mountains. Up and up,
Higher and higher, till I pant for breath
In that thin clearness. Still? There is no sound
Nor memory of sound upon these heights.
Ah! the great sunlight! The caressing sky,
The beauty, and the stillness, and the peace!
I see my pathway clear for miles below;
See where I fell, and set a friendly sign
To warn some other of the danger there.
The green small world is wide below me spread.
The great small world! Some things look large and fair
Which, in their midst, I could not even see;
And some look small which used to terrify.
Blessed these heights of freedom, wisdom, rest!
I will go higher yet.
A sea of cloud
Rolls soundless waves between me and the world.
This is the zone of everlasting snows,
And the sweet silence of the hills below
Is song and laughter to the silence here.
Great fields, huge peaks, long awful slopes of snow.
Alone, triumphant, man above the world,
I stand among these white eternities.
Sheer at my feet
Sink the unsounded, cloud-encumbered gulfs;
And shifting mists now veil and now reveal
The unknown fastnesses above me yet.
I am alone—above all life—sole king
Of these white wastes. How pitiful and small
Becomes the outgrown world! I reign supreme,
And in this utter stillness and wide peace
Look calmly down upon the universe.
Surely that crest has changed! That pile of cloud
That covers half the sky, waves like a robe!
That large and gentle wind
Is like the passing of a presence here!
See how yon massive mist-enshrouded peak
Is like the shape of an unmeasured foot,—
The figure with the stars!
Ah! what is this? It moves, lifts, bends, is gone!
With what a shocking sense of littleness—
A reeling universe that changes place,
And falls to new relation over me—
I feel the unseen presence of the gods!
“How I wish this illustrated version was given to me back [when I first read this story]! The level of detail in the illustrations helped me ‘feel’ the story. They are beautiful, haunting, disturbing, and yet not over interpreting the work. Do a young (or old) English student a favor and get this illustrated version of Gilman’s classic early feminist story The Yellow Wallpaper.”
—Lynn Silvera, Amazon reviewer