The Wireless Telegraph by Don Marquis

The creator of Archy & Mehitabel, Freddy the Rat,
Warty Bliggens the Toad, The Old Soak
and other timeless American treasures

Marquis, Don. "Wireless Telegraph."
American Illustrated Magazine 62 (June 1906): 144-145.

Wireless Telegraph

By Don Marquis


Dead priests that have sung when the world was young at Mercury's temple-place,
Your myth, it was true. It is born anew in the death of time and space!

MORE swift, more fleet, than the sun-stained feet of the Dawns that trample the night--
More fleet, more swift, than the gleams that lift in the wake of a wild star's flight--
Through the unpathed deeps of a sea that sweeps unplumbed, unsailed, unknown,
Where the forces untamed, unseen, unnamed, have ruled from the First, alone,
Now the Ghosts of Thought, with a message caught from the tales of the dreaming past,
Unheard, unseen, with nor sound nor sheen, speed through the ultimate vast.

ALL battered and lamed and shattered and maimed the mail-ship crawls into port,
And the belted tire and the volted wire are the toys of the whirl-wind's sport;

AND the gray sea's teeth in the depths beneath where the coiled, green serpents play
Are crumbling, crunching, mumbling, munching, at the cable lengths alway--
But now they may howl, the storms, and growl, at the work of the lineman's hands,
But gone is their pride with the boast of the tide that bit at the deep-sea strands.

FOR a sentience thrills through the bastioned hills that has neither voice nor form,
Nor recks of the might of the Chaos-sprite that lashes the earth with his storm;
Bitted and bridled and shackled and girdled and bound with a linkless chain,
The brute powers cower at the god-like power that dwells in a human brain;
Man has stolen the wings of the deathless Things that range where the spirit is lord,
He is leagued anew with the Silence through the strands of a strandless cord.

MAN'S feet are clay and they halt and stay with the graveyard worms and clods,
But his plumed thought flings to the wind its wings in the haunts of the careless gods--
For those old gods live, and they weave and give new meanings to old myth;
And blossoms and gleams of the world-old dreams flower fresh from the truth at their pith--

SO the tales that twine round the ruined shrine where Hermes' priests have sung,
They were true, they are true, they are born anew in the speech of a younger tongue.

Return to the opening page

Jim Ennes

Don Marquis