Mount Shasta as a symbol of high ideals, as a symbol of God's domain, as a symbol of purity, and as an inspiring presence, are just some of the varied themes which run through the 19th and 20th Century poems about this majestic mountain. In 1854 John Rollin Ridge, a Cherokee Indian who later became editor of the Sacramento Bee newspaper, wrote one of the earliest Mt. Shasta poems; entitled Mount Shasta it became one of the most famous California poems. Ridge's message was one for the entire state, and the poem contains lines such as "And well this Golden State shall thrive, if like Its own Mount Shasta, Sovereign Law shall lift Itself in purer atmosphere—so high..." The well-known abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier, in 1863, used Shasta as a symbol of God's works: "Amidst the glorious works of thine, The solemn minarets of Pine, And awful Shasta's icy shrine,-Where swell thy hymns from wave and gale..." Many Mt. Shasta poems are less abstract and more personal in sentiment. Joaquin Miller, who lived from 1854-57 near Mt. Shasta, and who visited many times thereafter, wrote several poems about his old home mountain. In his Shadows of Shasta poem, reprinted in this section, one sees his recurring theme of the 'Shadows,' or dark secrets, he saw inflicted on the lives of the Indians at the hands of the whites: "In the place where the grizzly reposes, Under peaks where a right is a wrong...." See also Section 20. Literature: Joaquin Miller for more of Miller's Mt. Shasta poems. Poets have expressed and published their personal experience of Mt. Shasta for well over 130 years. Even publisher William Randolph Hearst could not resist the creation of a poem eulogizing Mt. Shasta and the rivers which flow off its slopes. In the main the poems in this section are from the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Later 20th Century poems, although numerous, are excluded due to limits of space.
Visit the online bibliography to search bibliographic entries or browse the entries below.
The [MS number] indicates the Mount Shasta Special Collection accession numbers
used by the College of the Siskiyous Library.
[MS363]. Allen, Chas H. Shasta Spring
[poem]. In: Picturesque Shasta Springs : On the Shasta Route of the Southern
Pacific Co. between San Francisco and Portland. Southern Pacific Co., 1900?
[p. 4]. 18 line poem about Mt. Shasta and Shasta Springs.
Poem begins: "Hail glorious Shasta! Silent and alone!/Crowned with a grandeur that is all thine own!/The towering pinnacles are passing fair,/Glistening, resplendent in the upper air./Thou look'st serenely on the world below,/Decked in thine ermine of eternal snow."
Poem ends: "Hail, SHASTA SPRING! Thou seem'st in very truth/The long sought 'Fountain of Eternal Youth." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS363].
[MS894]. Avery, Benjamin Parke 1828-1875.
The Birth of Beauty [poem]. In: Avery, Benjamin Parke 1828-1875. Californian
Pictures in Prose and Verse. New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1878. pp. 150-151.
Copyright date is 1877. Another edition was published in 1885 in San Francisco
by Samuel Carson and Company. 24 line poem.
Poem begins "An old volcano, sealed in ice and snow,/Looks from its airy height supreme/On lesser peaks that dwindle small below;/On valleys hazy in the beam."
Poem ends: A mountain gem of pearly ray serene,/Our old volcano shows afar;/Fills all the panting soul with pleasure keen,/And draws it heavenward like a star." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS894].
[MS1123]. Beebe, Beatrice B. The Finished
Symphony: In Memory of Joaquin Miller [poem]. In: Overland Monthly. Sept.,
1930. Vol. 88. p. 258. 24 line poem.
Poem begins: " 'The Wonderful Winds of God!'/Perchance it is they who wrought/In sculpture a poet's face/Far up on the mountain top."
Poem ends: "The music he dreamed is done,/Ended in measures and bars,/A rare, finished symphony/Completed under the stars."
Poem accompanied by a photograph of Mt. Shasta captioned: "...Mt. Shasta snow covered, showing the long hair, white beard, and outline of the features of Joaquin Miller, poet of the Sierra. The peak at the left furnishes a striking resemblance to the poet whose description of Shasta brought him world-wide fame." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1123].
[MS2185]. Bigelow, L. Adda Nicholas. Mt. Shasta (poem). In: James, George Wharton 1858-1923. Exposition Memories: Panama-California exposition, San Diego, 1916. Pasadena, CA: The Radiant life press, 1917. 216 p.; front.; plates; ports.; 21 cm. Introduction by Caroline Remondino Franklin, a chapter by Bertha Bliss Tyler and the prose and poetic writings of San Diego writers read at the exposition. Mt. Shasta (poem) by L. Adda Nicholas Bigelow (p. 92). 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2185].
[MS2037]. Bland, Henry Meade 1863-1931. California: a Song of the Ultimate West, and Other Poems. San Jose, CA: The Pacific Short Story Club, 1926. 2 p. ľ., 7-40,  p. front., illus. (facsim.) plates' 20 cm. Several poems include descriptions of Mount Shasta, Calif. (p.9, 12, 17). Photograph of Joaquin Miller (p.1). Photograph of Mount Shasta (between p.18 and p.19). 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2037].
[MS941]. Blanding, Don 1894-1957. Shasta
[poem]. In: Blanding, Don 1894-1957. Mostly California. New York:
Dodd, Mead and Company, 1948. pp. 57-59. Illustrated by the author. 68
line poem. Poem contains the lines: "'If there should be clouds when we
passed.' I protested, 'Don't fear it./The peak, the great mountain, knows when
its lovers are near it./We'll see it.' My pessimist friend gave a snort of frank
doubting./'A mountain's a mountain,' he said, 'how can our little outing/Affect
the condition's that govern the rules of the weather?/How could this mountain
possibly know...or care...whether/We saw it or missed it. You're simply being
poetic.'/I knew with a sureness of knowing that verged on prophetic/ That Shasta,
the Chaste One, the Virgin, the splendid and gracious,/Would welcome our tribute
of love. From her throne in the spacious/Blue temple of sky she would give us
the joy of her blessing,"
Poem ends: "In our hearts burns a white-gleaming jewel, a vision that hovers,/An earth-goddess baring her breasts to her reverent lovers."
Poem illustrated by two drawings of Mt. Shasta as sketched by the artist/author. Other Mt. Shasta drawings by the author appear on p. 17 and p. 140.
Book also contains another poem mentioning Mt. Shasta with the lines: "I see Mount Shasta unveiling the white chastity of her majestic breasts/to the ardent eyes of the sun" (p. 142). 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS941].
[MS1006]. Burbank, William F. Mount
Shasta [poem]. In: Mighels, Ella Sterling 1853-1934. Literary California:
Poetry Prose and Poets. San Francisco, Calif.: Harr Wagner Publishing Co.,
1918. p. 125. Poem first published in 'Frank Leslie's Magazine, 1887.'
10 line poem.
"'As lone as God, and white as winter moon,'/Mount Shasta's peak looks down on forest gloom./The storm-tossed pines and warlike-looking firs/Have rallied here upon its silver spurs./Eternal tower, majestic, great and strong,/So silent all, except for Heaven's song--/For Heaven's voice calls out through silver bars/To Shasta's height; calls out below the stars,/And speaks the way, as though but quarter rod/From Shasta's top unto its maker, God." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1006].
[MS545]. Burchfield, Chris. The Sweet, Sad Song of Yellow Bird, California's Confederate Cherokee . In: The Californians. Nov.-Dec., 1990. pp. 17-26. Yellow Bird was the pseudonym of John Rollin Ridge. Ridge wrote one of the earliest, and most famous, poems about Mt. Shasta. How and why the Cherokee Indian Ridge came to California from his home in Georgia is explained in detail in Burchfield's article. The intertribal Cherokee rivalries which ended in the brutal murder of his father, and a darkly taken revenge by Ridge, culminated in travel to the western frontier. Ridge made his living through his writing- as a journalist, poet, and author. Ridge's Indian name was Chees-quat-law-ny, or Yellow Bird, and he signed his early poems as Yellow Bird. He became well-known for his book titled The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit, published in 1854. This book became the primary literary source for the legend of the real bandit Joaquin Murieta. To many people, Joaquin Murieta was a hero, a "Robin Hood of El Dorado." Note that the poet and writer C.H. Miller so identified himself with the legend that by 1871 Miller was calling himself Joaquin Miller. Much of Ridge's time during his first three years in California was spent in the Shasta City and Whiskytown areas, hence the opportunity to see Mt. Shasta. Ridge was a good writer, and his talents led him in 1857 to become the first editor of the Sacramento Bee newspaper. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS545].
[MS729]. Bynner, Witter 1881-1968. Shasta
[poem]. In: Markham, Edwin 1852-1940. Songs and Stories. San Francisco,
Calif.: 1931? p. 378. Also published with an illustration of Mount Shasta
in Sunset, Feb., 1914, p. 332. 20 line poem. Titled "Shasta."
Poem begins: "The canyon is deep shade beneath/And the tall pines rise out of it./In the sun beyond, brilliant as death,/Is a mountain big with buried breath--/Hark, I can hear the shout of it!"
Poem ends: "Shall my good hopes continue still/And, gathering infinity,/Inhabit many a human will?--/An Indian in me, toward that hill,/Conceives himself divinity."
Edwin Markham wrote that in 1931 Witter Brynner was a "Poet and translator: graduate of Harvard: spent a year teaching poetry in Berkeley: now living in New Mexico: an authority on Chinese and American-Indian poetry " (p. 378). Brynner was a noted poet published by several major U.S. publishing houses. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS729].
[MS2039]. Caley, Ray Leland. Poems of Mt. Shasta. Yreka, CA: Dragon's Lair Pub, 1996. 1 vol. (unpaged): 28 cm. Poems about Mount Shasta, Calif. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2039].
[MS296]. Chanera. Glorious Mount Shasta [poem]. In: King, Godfre Ray 1878-1939. Original Unveiled Mysteries. Chicago, Ill.: Saint Germain Press, Inc., 1982. Fourth Edition. Book first published in 1934. Poem is not found in all editions. GodfrŽ Ray King is a pseudonym for Guy Warren Ballard. "Shasta! Oh, Mount Shasta!/What Secrets do you hide,/What dwells within that Heart of Yours,/What Light does There abide?/Beneath Your Snowy Peaks so Bright/What Blessings do You hold,/What Knowledge do You guard so well/From Those who seek too bold?/I think I hear You speak to me/From Your Pure Heights above./I feel and hear Your answer now/There's just one way - through Love!/To him who knows that 'Presence' well/And lives It, too, beside,/My Secrets are an Open Book,/From him I've naught to hide./Learn well that Golden Key of Life,/It opens every lock;/With It, you may fling wide My Door/For Love ne'er needs to knock./Oh, sons of Earth, who seek more Light,/Learn first Love's Great Command!/Pour out Its Healing Golden Streams/ And in My Heart you'll stand." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS296].
[MS1015]. Chappell, F. M. Mrs. Mount
Shasta [poem]. In: Chappell, H. W. and Frank, B. F. The History and
Business Directory of Shasta County: Comprising an Accurate Historical Sketch
of the County from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present TimeŃA Full General
Directory of the CountyŃHistory of Fraternal SocietiesŃSketches of the Principal
Points of Interest to the TouristŃTable of Distances, Etc. Etc. Etc. Redding,
Calif.: Redding Independent Book and Job Printing House, 1881. p. 153. 32
Poem begins: "How shall I near thee, grey, old guardian of the plain?/How lift my fainting notes aloft to thee?/How shall the evanescent voice of song attain/To those calm heights so far above my world and me?"
Poem ends: O still, immutable, untouched of ages past,/Beyond the pow'r of ages yet to be,/With foot on earth and head to heaven upcast/Grey Shasta, time itself is lost in thee!" 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1015].
[MS313]. Chase, Cora E. Shasta and
the Poppy [poem]. In: Californian Illustrated. 1900 (?). Vol. 3. p. 771.
Poem. 8 lines.
"Have you not seen a little child/Smile sweetly in the face of age;/Whose hopeful trust in all mankind,/Found naught forbidding in the sage?/ So Shasta stands, in purple state,/Snow-crowned and wisely old;/While straight in Shasta's awful face,/Smiles up this flower of gold."
Cora E. Chase was a noted poet and friend of the poet/editor Edwin Markham. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS313].
[MS377]. Clark, Sarah D. Mount Shasta
[poem]. In: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California,
Illustrated: Containing a History of this Important Section of the Pacific Coast
from the Earliest Period of its Occupancy to the Present Time, together with
Glimpses of its Prospective Future; Full-Page Portraits of its most Eminent
Men, and a Biographical Mention of Many of its Pioneers, and also of Prominent
Citizens of To-day. Chicago, Ill.: Lewis Publishing Company, 1891. pp.
242-243. 74 line poem.
Poem begins: "Over fields on fields of snow, / By the ca–ons gorge, where the cataracts flow, / When deepening sunset burn and fade / O'er the dark Sierra's shade, / Where life is a joy and the heart beats free, -- / Away by the slope to the western sea, / The crown and the pride of those sunny lands, / The beautiful mountain of Shasta stands.
Poem ends: As the ages come and the ages go, / Girdling with flame those peaks of snow, / The crown and the pride of that sunny land / Shall the beautiful mountain of Shasta stand; / And the empire star shall rise and rise, / Till it moves full-orbed in those western skies. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS377].
[MS730]. Cox, Ken. Shasta [poem]. In: Letter to Dennis Freeman posted Feb. 3, 1990. The bibliographical information about this poem was found in the Mount Shasta Herald, Oct. 11, 1989. Page B - 4. Poem begins: "The beauty astounds me as I see the grace of God unfold before my eyes/Oh what a majestic sight of glory as peace befalls the great mountain/I realize how lucky I am and begin praising God from whom all great things begin." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS730].
[MS2036]. Crabb, William Darwin. Lyrics of the Golden West. San Francisco, CA: The Whitaker & Ray Company, 1898. 120 p.; 20 cm. Shasta (poem) (p. 39-40). 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2036].
[MS699]. Curtis, A. B. Mount Shasta
[poem]. In: The Stranger. Oct., 1923. Vol. 1. No. 8. p. 10. 23 line poem
about Mt. Shasta and the flowers of Mississippi.
Poem begins: "All day we played with the lone pile of coldness-/Shadowy and white and far./Then like a kitten, catching its tail,/We curved and frisked around its base,/In and out among the lower hills/that never dared to look/Up to their frozen queen.
Poem ends: "That night I saw a woman-/Too tall and cold and beautiful for earth,/And against her frozen breast she held/A cluster of pomegranate flowers." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS699].
[MS788]. Doney, Albert E. Apostrophe
to Mt. Shasta [poem]. In: The Siskiyou Pioneer in Folklore, Fact and Fiction
and Yearbook. Siskiyou County Historical Society. Aug., 1948. p. 20. Dated Sept.
15, 1877. 18 line poem. Written to commemorate an ascent of the mountain
by 12 men and women including the author.
"Grand and magnificent thou has stood/Through ages past, through storm and flood/Have tried unnumbered times to break/Thy peaks and thy foundations shake/Proudly yet through years to come/Thy hoary head will greet the sun/First of all at peep of day/While far below, still slumbering lazy/Fair peaks and mounts of lesser height,/While in the vales, all yet is night./The feeble hand of man has built/Upon thy brow, and crowned with gilt/A monument, where naught but snow/Will through the ages come and go./As through the ages past has done,/And which thus far has been thy crown./Oft up thy rugged sides we glance/Then bow to God's omnipotence." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS788].
[MS775]. Fairchild, Ben H. Golden Siskiyou [poem]. The Siskiyou Pioneer in Folklore, Fact and Fiction and Yearbook. Siskiyou County Historical Society. Fall, 1953. Vol. 2. No. 4. p. ii. 48 line poem. Contains the lines: "Wondrous Nature/At her best,/Created Shasta/Pride of the West/Whose glaciers shine/In the noonday sun,/And shadows grow long/When the day is done. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS775].
[MS785]. Fairchild, Ben H. The Call
of the Klamath [poem]. The Siskiyou Pioneer in Folklore, Fact and Fiction
and Yearbook. Siskiyou County Historical Society. 1955. Vol. 2. No. 7. p. 15.
48 line poem. The author explains that "The inspiration for the poem...was
derived when one day I saw a handsome young Indian lad standing in front of
the Draft Board office during World War II. I asked him where he came from and
why he was so sad..."
Poem contains the lines "I like to be down on the river/and hear the Kingfisher scream,/And watch the Silver Side Salmon/As they battle their way up the stream/ To stand on the side of a mountain/Where I can see Shasta covered with snow,/And be among the wild flowers,/For here is where the wild lilies grow"
Poem ends: "Down in the deep rocky canyon/The water of the Klamath is hurled./And when I'm home I feel like a KING,/Then I know I am at peace with the world." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS785].
[MS2040]. Ferrasci, Victoria. In the Shadow of the Mountain and Other Poems. Mt. Shasta, CA: Rocking F Publishers, 1996. 80 p.; ill.; 22 cm. Photographs of Mount Shasta, Calif. by Victoria Ferrasci on front and back covers. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2040].
[MS1002]. Giles, Rosena. Shasta Dusk [poem]. In: California Writers Club, Members of. West Winds: An Anthology of Verse. San Francisco, Calif.: Harr Wagner Publishing Co., 1925. p. 62. 22 line poem about Shasta county; not about Mt. Shasta. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1002].
[MS2084]. Giles, Rosena A. Shasta (poem). 1950. Poem and illustration. 1950. Original not available. Seen as digital image. Original was a tipped-in manuscript to an author's presentation copy of 'Shasta County, California: A History.' by Rosena A. Giles. This poem was photographed and included as part of an item sold on EBAY, item # 281116377 on 3/17/00. Poem reprinted here in it’s entirety: “ Shasta the staunch stone house. Where in the Great Spirit dwell when the world was new. Around its hoary crest the fierce winds blew, While in its heart the warm hearthfire Burned with bright flame by spirits attended, And the spiraling smoke to the stars ascended.” 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2084].
[MS336]. Gillis, Alfred C. To the Wenem
Mame River [poem]. In: Californian Indian Herald. Feb. 1924. p. 10. Important
60 line poem about the Mount Shasta region and the McCloud River. Alfred C.
Gillis was a "Wintoone" Indian and his poem contains references to
the land and events of the Indian past. Mount Shasta is mentioned in line 41:
"Above eternal Shasta's snow." In the footnotes the author states
that "The McCloud was known to all surrounding tribes as Topy Mame, meaning
the valuable and coveted river. [and] Wenem Mame: middle river. Wintoon's name
for the McCloud River." Modoc, Shasta, and Wintoon tribes are portrayed
in the poem as warring amongst themselves, with bravery and mortal combat the
Poem begins: "Once again my footsteps stray / Where the mountain waters play, / I hear again the river's roar / That breaks upon its rocky shore / Through silent canyons wild and deep, / Its raging waters plunge and sleep, / Above the ancient mountains rise, / And point their columns to the skies."
Poem ends: "O, white man, take this land of ours / Guard well its hills, streams and bowers, / Guard well the Mounds where Wintoons sleep, / Guard well these canyons wild and deep." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS336].
[MS450]. Greene, Charles S. Yelland's
Exhibition [poem]. In: Greene, Charles S. From the Sierra to the Sea
or Songs from the Scaean Gate. Berkeley, Calif.: The Sather Gate Book Shop,
1930. p. 13. Poem first appeared in the Oakland Enquirer, Sept. 28, 1900.
14 line poem about an exhibition of paintings by R. D. Yelland. Yelland was
a popular artist and art instructor at the S.F. Art Institute. Yelland painted
Mt. Shasta several times during his life.
Poem contains the lines "Could not alone have made the things we see-- / The mystic redwoods where the sunbeams dart / Great Shasta's snowy cone, the very heart / Of stormy waves that dash resistlessly." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS450].
[MS1089]. Gwin, Irma A. Mount Shasta
[poem]. In: Mount Shasta Herald. Mt. Shasta, Calif.: July 25, 1935. 76 line
Poem begins: "White, your snowy cap gleams at dawn,/High above Man's petty sphere/Like a mandate on high-/Courage, to us struggling here."
Poem ends: "For my head is in the heavens/And I see what's hid from you./All is well,' you tell us softly,/'Rest-I watch keep-rest, adieu.'" 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1089].
[MS531]. Hadley, Ray. Smoking Mount Shasta. Brunswick, Me.: Blackberry, no date. 'Blackberry No. 12.' Pamphlet of poetry. Does not contain any poems about Mt. Shasta, though one poem is about a cabin at Meiss Lake, in northeast Siskiyou County, Calif. Cover engraving depicts a giant Indian smoking a giant pipe with an erupting volcano for a bowl. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS531].
[MS1211]. Hearst, William Randolf. The
Song of the River [poem]. In: San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, Calif.:
Aug. 14, 1966. Section 2, p. 2. 'Composed February 25, 1941, at Wyntoon (McCloud)
Siskiyou County, California, near where, in the long shadows of Mount Shasta,
arise the head-waters of the mighty Sacramento.' Also published in the Siskiyou
Pioneer, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1957), p. 19. Reprinted in San Francisco Examiner, Sunday,
Aug. 14, 1994, p. A-17, under 'A Rememberance,' commerating the 43rd anniversary
of the death of William Randolf Hearst. 39 line poem. Illustrated with a
Mt. Shasta drawing. William Randolf Hearst was a well-known newspaper magnate.
The Wyntoon retreat near Mt. Shasta was established around the turn of the century
by his mother, the philanthropist Phoebe Hearst.
Poem begins: "The snow melts on the mountain/And the water runs down to the spring,/And the spring in a turbulent fountain,/With a song of youth to sing."
Poem ends: "Then the water harked back to the mountain top./To begin its course once more./So we shall reach the silent shore,/Then revisit earth in a pure rebirth/From the heart of the virgin snow./So don't ask why we live or die,/Or whither, or when, we go,/Or wonder about the mysteries/ That only God may know. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1211].
[MS725]. Jury, John George 1866. Shasta
[poem]. In: Elder, Paul. California the Beautiful: Camera Studies by
California Artists with Selections in Prose and Verse from Western Writers.
San Francisco, Calif.: Paul Elder and Company Publishers, 1911. p. 72. Poem
was originally published in Jury's Omar and Fitzgerald. A four line poem.
"And thou will greet the ages yet to be,/The past and future join in one strong flight,-/Forever mantled in celestial white,/Proud Shasta, emblem of purity!" 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS725].
[MS726]. Keeler, Charles Augustus 1871-1937.
Shasta [poem]. In: Elder, Paul. California the Beautiful: Camera
Studies by California Artists with Selections in Prose and Verse from Western
Writers. San Francisco, Calif.: Paul Elder and Company Publishers, 1911.
p. 72. According to the notes of Edward Stuhl, this poem was first published
Dec., 1903, in: 'For California,' Vol. 1. No. 1, p. 5. A fourteen line
poem. Titled "Shasta."
"Alone, high lifted toward the north, there looms/A cone, snow-etched against the radiant sky,/With forest-fringed hem that would defy/Bleak rocks where icy streams from glacier tombs/Leap joyous downward. At the dusk it blooms/Above the somber world, serene and high/In roseate glory, while the pine boughs sigh/As night falls gradual, and the splendor glooms./The Lord, by such high tokens, it would seem,/Reveals a tithe of His majestic grace/To mortals who about His alter dream/Of spirit power to stir a worldly race;/Who, thus inspired, like Sacramento's tide/Bear Shasta's blessing o'er the valley's wide."
Charles Keeler was the director of the California Academy of Science Museum. He was also a well-known poet and author. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS726].
[MS770]. Kempf, Jean King. Mount Shasta
[poem]. In: California Poets. New York: Henry Harrison, 1932. p.
408. A twelve-line poem.
'Above you there, the silver stars/Form a halo round your head;/While at your feet, the stately pines/Move with a silent tread./You dwell upon majestic heights/But the tenor of your mood/Is wrapped in perfect purity,/Unsullied solitude./Like some ethereal spirit/On a great white judgement throne,/You stand remote, in the moonlight-/Silent, aloof, and alone.' 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS770].
[MS307]. King, Clarence 1842-1901. [Mount Shasta rocks and glacier] [poem]. In: Wilkins, Thurman 1915. Clarence King: A Biography. Albuquerque, N. M.: University of New Mexico Press, 1988. p. 145. 'Revised and Enlarged Edition' Clarence King, having witnessed on Mt. Shasta the formation of conical pits a hundred feet wide and a hundred feet deep caused by the sudden collapse of glaciers with rocks on top undercut by streams and air, wrote a poem in dialect of the rocks which come tumbling down. He writes: " I've clum' 'mong alpine mountains/And forest that's all pine too./I've drinkt at bitter fountains/Whar some took whisky in lieu./Not even all them postage stamps/Left by the late J. Astor/Would tempt this sorry child again/To shin the cone of Shaster./I'll bet that old Excelsior,/For all he's reckoned limber,/Couldn't dodge them rollin' rocks/Nor shy that rottin' timber." (p. 145). Wilkins explains King's poem in the context of dialect verse popularized by J. R. Lowell and Bret Harte. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS307].
[MS572]. M., J. S. Mount Shasta as
Seen From Tehama [poem] . In: Overland Monthly. Dec., 1886. Vol. 8. No.
48. p. 666. 24 line poem. Poem begins: "The Sacramento's plains are green/With
early wheat and tender grass;/A glorious picture, framed between-/Grand mountain
ranges that surpass."
Poem ends: That bends to touch Mount Shasta's crown,/As if the world the heavens would greet;/While common parentage they own/Where white-robed earth and bright sky meet." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS572].
[MS321]. Markham, Edwin 1852-1940. The
Rock-Breaker [poem]. In: Markham, Edwin 1852-1940. The Man with the
Hoe and Other Poems. New York: Doubleday and McClure Company, 1899. p.
132. Poem: "Pausing he leans upon his sledge, and / looks-/ A labor blasted
toiler; / So have I seen, on Shasta's top, a pine / Stand silent on a cliff,
/ Stript of its glory of green leaves and / boughs / Its great trunk split by
fire, / Its gray bark blackened by the thunder- / smoke, / Its life a sacrifice
/ To some blind purpose of the destinies."
The Man with the Hoe and other Poems was Edwin Markham's best-known book. The book's title refers to the famous painting by Millet of a noble peasant leaning on a hoe. The "Rock Breaker" seems to take this image of the dignity of the working peasant one step further than the title poem, and apply it to the vision of a blasted and weary pine growing under the mighty weight of destiny high on the slopes of Mount Shasta. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS321].
[MS1104]. McAllister, Matthew Hall. Ode
to the Shasta Alpine Lodge [poem]. San Jose, Calif.: July 10, 1927. Only
typescript copy seen; possibly published in a San Jose, Calif. newspaper.
12 line poem.
"Land of the turquoise sky,/Eight thousand feet above the worry level;/Where the planets shine brightest,/On the fringe of the covering snow;/Where the pine grouse sounds his drum,/And the Clark's crow feeds its young;/Where the soaring eagle scanning wide,/And the frisky chipmunk seeks to hide;/The hunted stag finds his well earned rest,/And the eager mountaineer seeks his quest -/There is where I wish to go,/To the land of the lasting ice and snow." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1104].
[MS35]. Mighels, Ella Sterling 1853-1934. Literary California: Poetry Prose and Poets. San Francisco, Calif.: Harr Wagner Publishing Co., 1918. Contains two short poems about Mount Shasta: 'Night on Shasta' by Ralph Bacon (p. 236); and 'Mount Shasta' by William F. Burbank (p. 125) (see also Burbank, Mount Shasta (poem)). Other interesting bits of far northern California material included in this book are a photograph of B.B. Redding; and a two page "The Story of Sawyer's Bar' (pp. 298-299). The book is highly noteworthy for the hundreds of small portrait photographs of California personalities from the 19th century; many of the portraits are not found anywhere else. Unusual portraits of John Muir, Joaquin Miller, Ina Coolbrith, Charles Keeler, Mary Austin, Harr Wagner, Paul Elder, Minnie Myrtle Miller, Benjamin P. Avery, all of whom have some relationship to Mount Shasta, are found among the numerous photographs. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS35].
[MS728]. Miller, Joaquin 1837-1913. Shadows
of Shasta [poem]. In: Miller, Joaquin 1837-1913. Songs of the Sun-Lands.
Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, 1873. p. 198. Also published in Overland
Monthly, Vol. 10, Issue 5 (May 1873), p. 467. Twelve line poem. Titled "Shadows
"In the place where the grizzly reposes,/Under peaks where a right is a wrong,/I have memories richer than roses,/Sweet echoes more sweet than a song;/Sounds sweet as the voice of a singer/Made sacred with sorrows unsaid,/And a love that implores me to linger/For the love of dead days and their dead./But I turn, throwing kisses, returning/To strife and to turbulent men,/As to learn to be wise, as unlearning/All things that were manifest then." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS728].
[MS2174]. Pratt, Alice Edwards. [Mount Shasta] [Poem]. Pratt, Alice Edwards. The Sleeping Princess, California. San Francisco: William Doxey, 1892.  p; ill; 20 cm. In verse. Illustration of Mount Shasta, Calif. accompanied by poem line: 'Here wooded to the peak, there crowned with snow...' (p. 4) 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2174].
[MS778]. Ray, Dorothy. The Saga of Siskiyou [poem]. In: The Siskiyou Pioneer in Folklore, Fact and Fiction and Yearbook. Siskiyou County Historical Society. 1963. Vol. 3. No. 6. p. 58. 73 line poem. The poem is mostly about the despoilation of Mount Shasta and the county by the white people. Poem begins: "This is the saga of Siskiyou,/ Land of the great, white mountain." Contains the lines: With the passing of time and the Red Man/And his great veneration of Shasta,/The white men came from the valleys/To conquer the silent, white mountain;/To leave on her summit their names/And the mark of their civilized progress/But the furious anger of nature/At the despoilation of Shasta,/Released in the wind and the lightning,/Reduced the proud marker to rubble,/Where it lay 'neath the snow for a decade/'Til carried back home by the white men." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS778].
[MS544]. Ridge, John Rollin. Mt. Shasta
[poem] . In: The Californians. Nov./Dec., 1990. p. 20. Written under the
name Yellow Bird, the pseudonym of J. R. Ridge. According to Burchfield (see
Burchfield 1990) the poem was first published circa 1854. The poem also appeared
in Hutchings' California Magazine (vol. 3, p. 37) in 1858. The poem was reprinted
in Ridge's 'Poems,' published in 1868, and in Harry Wells' History of Siskiyou
County, California, 1881, p.1. Also in: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century.
New York: The Library of America, 1993, pp. 183-184; also published in Yreka
Journal, June 3, 1869, p. 1, col. 4 and Nov. 17, 1877, p. 4, col. 1 and Feb.
29, 1879, p. 1, col 5, and July 9, 1887, p. 4, col. 1. 76 line poem. One
of the earliest (1854) and also most famous poems ever written about Mt. Shasta.
The poem was written under the pseudonym Yellow Bird.
Poem begins: "Behold the dread Mt. Shasta, where it stands / Imperial midst the lesser heights, and, like / Some mighty unimpassioned mind, companionless / And cold. The storms of heaven may beat in wrath / Against it, but it stands in unpolluted / Grandeur still; and from the rolling mists upheaves / Its tower of pride, e'en purer than before."
Poem ends: "And well this Golden State shall thrive, if like / Its own Mt. Shasta, Sovereign Law shall lift / Itself in purer atmosphere--so high / That human feeling, human passion at its base / shall lie subdued; e'en pity's tears shall on / Its summer freeze, to warm it e'en the sunlight / Of deep sympathy shall fail; / Its pure administration shall be like / The snow immaculate upon that mountain's brow."
John Rollin Ridge was a Cherokee Indian from Georgia. He came to California in 1850 and spent his first three years in the state mining and hunting in the region of Shasta City and Whiskeytown. During those years the bandit Joaquin Murieta was often in the news, and Ridge wrote a book about the outlaw. Titled The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit, the book was published in June of 1854, and it became a best seller. Burchfield says: "More popular with Yellow Bird's gold rush readers than his book about Joaquin Murieta was his poem to Mt. Shasta, which was carried in many newspapers".
Ridge's poem about Mt. Shasta contains the lines: "To gaze upon its honored form, aye standing / There are the guarantee of health and happiness / Well might it win communities so blest / To loftier feelings and to nobler thoughts / The great material symbol of eternal / Things! ..." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS544].
[MS308]. Sanders, Helen Fitzgerald 1883.
Mount Shasta [poem]. In: Overland Monthly. Aug., 1906. Vol. 48. No. 2.
p. 66. 33 line poem.
Begins: "Child of the dark, primeval seas,/Cloaked in the ages mysteries,/To-day thy kindly bulk doth rise/To face the over-arching skies,/Whence by a Power we do not know/Is wrought thy diadem of snow,/Lord of the Lordly Mountain Range."
Ends: "Alone, supreme, a Lord of Lords,/Ruling, the sweeping mountain hordes,/Until the earth shall fade away/ Unchallenged shalt thou hold thy sway,/Lord of the Lordly Mountain Range." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS308].
[MS2038]. Scheffauer, Herman George 1878-1927. Of Both Worlds: Poems. San Francisco, CA: A.M. Robertson, 1903. 144 p.; port; 20 cm. Banners of Shasta (poem) (p. 33-34). 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2038].
[MS613]. Sholes, Charles Henry 1853.
On Summit of Mount Shasta [poem] . In: Idle Rhymes from Oregon.
East Aurora, N.Y.: The Roycrofters, 1907. p. 20. 14 line poem:
"Serene on Shasta's utmost spire I stood/With joy of conquest filled; its western flanks/Obscured by thunder-clouds, whose dark'ning ranks/Uprose and swelled, a threat-intoning brood;/The lightening glowing red (like opal fire-imbrued/Within its matrix rough) burst thro' their liquid banks,/Then downward rushed-a silver-plumed phalanx-/Cool streams to bless the parched and waiting wood/"The mind of God as perfume"-fragrant breath/Of lofty heights-swept by and canceled Death./So deep was life, so wide the human span,/All things I either felt or saw or heard;/The universe seemed uttered in one word,/And Time itself shrank back from mortal man." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS613].
[MS614]. Sholes, Charles Henry 1853. To Mount Shasta [poem]. In: Mazama: A Record of Mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. Dec., 1915. Vol. 4. No. 4. p. 10. 4 line poem. "Thou art a mighty mass, but not insensate thing!/A mood for every day, yea, every hour, doth spring/From thy hot heart. And I, your bold intrepid thrall,/To read your meaning clear, will strive till death ends all." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS614].
[MS615]. Sill, Edward Rowland 1841-1887. On a Picture of Mt. Shasta by Keith [poem]. In: Overland Monthly. July, 1883. Second series, Vol. 2. No. 7. pp. 1-2. Also published in Keith: Old Master of California, by Brother Cornelius, 1957, Vol. II, pp. 271-2. Long poem by a noted California poet (see Markham, 1923). Poem contains the lines: "The white earth-spirit, Shasta! Calm, alone,/Silent it stands, cold in the crystal air,/White-bosomed sister of the stainless dawn,/With whom the cloud hold converse, and the storm/rests there, and stills its tempest into snow." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS615].
[MS2025]. Skolnick, Arnold. Paintings of California. New York: C. Potter, 1993. 128 p. : col. ill. ; 20 x 24 cm. Includes poem by Louis Simpson, 'The climate of paradise' (1971) about Mount Shasta, Calif. (p. 71). 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2025].
[MS1106]. Smith, C. M. Mount Shasta
[poem]. In: Overland Monthly. Feb. 1895. Vol. 25. p. 141. 36 line poem.
Poem begins: "Sublime, majestic, bold and lone you stand,/Proud monument, from an Almighty Hand -/You awe the sons of men, their souls impress;/Grand monarch of the mountain wilderness -"
Poem ends: "Till great Niagara has stilled its roar,/And silence reigns upon the ocean shore -/Until this wandering world's long course is run,/And earth shall fall into its grave, the sun." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1106].
[MS1105]. Smith, Henry Lees. Shasta
[poem]. In: The Grizzly Bear. Jan., 1908. Vol. 2. No. 3. 20 line poem.
Poem begins: "Guard of the North, through fire-lit gleaming sky,/In pride and matchless glory towering high."
Poem ends: "Lone Patriarch, majestic work of God/Almighty, midst your wildest crags untrod;/Thy litany in holy chant shall be/Our psalm throughout Eternity. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS1105].
[MS612]. [State Teachers College]. The
Grand Old Mountain Speaks [poem] . In: Shasta Wildcat. State Teachers
College Publication, July 14, 1931. 16 line poem.
Poem begins: "They're laboring up my slopes again,/They try it every year./I wonder why with gasp and groan/A course they upward steer."
Poem ends: "What! Only one group comes this year/From out the Summer Session?/They used to swarm my sides like ants/It must be this depression." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS612].
[MS298]. Tebbe, Elsie. Mt. Shasta
at Sunset [poem]. In: White and Gold. May 15, 1924. p. 28. Publication
by the seniors of the Siskiyou Union High School District, 1924. Poem. 16
Begins: "Mount Shasta, with her cap of snow/In the vivid summer sunset glow/Reflects the brilliant flame-red hue/ As if on fire, against the blue;"
Ends: "One's heart is filled with wondering awe/Looking on the majestic scene,/So beautiful, so calm, serene." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS298].
[MS2175]. The Well Versed. The Well Versed Anthology: Volume One : Collection of Mount Shasta Poets. Mount Shasta, CA: The Well Versed, 1996. x; 98 p.; 22 cm. 'The Well Versed, a guild of poets from the Mount Shasta area... have revealed their most secret and sacred expressions to create a volume of collected work. ...Poets of all ages and all stages of development have brought together in this anthology the writings focused by the unique energy of the mountain they are privileged to live near.' (Book jacket) 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS2175].
[MS574]. W., J. W. Mount Shasta at
Sunset [poem] . In: Yreka Weekly Union. Yreka, Calif.: July 24, 1859. p.
1. 51 line poem.
Poem begins: " 'Twas evening's hour; the light and fleecy clouds/That softly floated on the zephyr's breath/Were blushing crimson, 'neath the ardent kiss/The Day-God gave, e'er from the western hill."
Poem ends: " I bent my homeward steps, for in that hour/My soul had felt communion with its God." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS574].
[MS622]. Waterhouse, Alfred James 1855-1928. The Race of Giants [poem]. In: Sunset Magazine. Dec., 1903. Vol. 12. pp. 161-163. 40 line poem about the impish Black Butte and the great Mt. Shasta. Poem begins: "Now forth on your journey, oh, soul of mine,/Which the perils, the dangers, the doubts, await" Poem ends: "Oh, Shasta, with banners of glory unfurled,/There is truth in thy emblem, and God's in the world." Poem is illustrated with a photograph of Black Butte and Mt. Shasta. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS622].
[MS312]. Wellman, Sally. Mount Shasta
[poem]. In: And So Forth. Spring, 1964. Vol. 1. No. 2. Published by the
trustees of College of the Siskiyous. Poem. 28 lines.
Begins: "Mount Shasta appears - a snow-capped wonder/ Her lofty peaks upreaching towards the sky-/Changeless she stands - yet ever changing/With each new hour as time goes passing by."
Ends: "Fortunate - we who live in her shadow-/Ever in awe of her beauty sublime,/Changeless Mount Shasta - yet ever changing,/With each passing hour through endless time!." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS312].
[MS159]. Wendling, George Xavier. The Silent Monitor [poem]. San Francisco, Calif.: Sunset Publishing House, 1912. Only 500 copies printed. This copy signed by the author. The silent monitor is Mount Shasta. The book consists of a 24 line poem with photographs. Lines include: "Like the sentinel at the gateway,/ Stands Mt. Shasta at the pass" and "As the sphinx stands guard o'er Egypt,/So Mt. Shasta holds in care/All of lovely Klamath Valley,/In that land beyond compare." The book contains photographs by noted photographer H.C. Tibbitts. Each photograph is accompanied by two lines of the 24 line poem. Contains several beautiful photographs of Mount Shasta. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS159].
[MS320]. Wendte, Charles William 1844.
Thomas Starr King. Boston, Mass.: The Beacon Press, 1921. pp. 208-210.
First published in an unspecified East Coast magazine (See Pickard Letters of
J.G. Whittier. Vol. III, p. 54.) Contains information about John Greenleaf
Whittier, the famous New England poet. His anti-slavery poems began appearing
in the 1830s and he quickly became a major voice among the abolitionists. In
1863 he sent to his friend Thomas Starr King a poem for the dedication of King's
new San Francisco church. T. S. King was famous for his speeches which helped
keep California against slavery at the beginning of the Civil War.
The 1863 poem begins : "Amidst the glorious works of thine,/The solemn minarets of the pine,/And awful Shasta's icy shrine,"
The poem ends: "That song shall swell from shore to shore,/One hope, one faith, one love, restore/The seamless robe that Jesus wore."
In a letter Whittier once said: "I have just sent what I think is a Hymn to T. S. King for the opening of his new 'steeple house' " (see Pickard. Vol. III, p. 53.)
Whittier does mention Mount Shasta again in a preface to a book published in 1889 (see Pickard Vol III, p. 571).
Thomas Starr King's fondness for the mountains was well-known: Mount Starr King in Yosemite is named for him. Reverend King sent several letters on different occasions in different years mentioning Mount Shasta (pp. 114-119). It is perhaps in such a letter sent to Whittier that the poet picked up the reference to Mount Shasta. 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS320].
[MS943]. Whittier, John Greenleaf 1807-1892.
Hymn: for the Opening of Thomas Starr King's House of Worship, 1864.
In: Whittier, John Greenleaf 1807-1892. The Tent on the Beach and Other
Poems. Boston, Mass.: Ticknor and Fields, 1867. pp. 167-169. First time
published in a book (see Wendte 1921) Important poem using Mt. Shasta as
a one symbol or example of God's work's. Whittier was a famous abolitionist
poet, and Thomas Starr King was a famous pastor credited with keeping California
an anti-slavery state.
The 1863 Civil War period poem begins : "Amidst the glorious works of thine,/The solemn minarets of the pine,/And awful Shasta's icy shrine,-"/ Where swell thy hymns from wave and gale,/And organ-thunders never fail,/Behind the cataract's silver veil,-/Our puny walls to Thee we raise,/Our poor reed-music sounds thy praise:/Forgive, O lord, our childish ways!/For, kneeling on these altar-stairs,/We urge Thee not with selfish prayers,/Nor murmur at our daily cares./Before Thee, in an evil day,/Our country's bleeding heart we lay,/And dare not ask thy hand to stay;/But, through the war cloud, pray to thee/for union, but a union free,/With peace that comes of purity!/That Thou wilt bare thy arm to save,/And smiting through this Red Sea wave,/Make broad a pathway for the slave!/For us, confessing all our need,/We trust nor rite nor word nor deed,/Nor yet the broken staff of creed./Assured alone that Thou art good/To each, as to the multitude,/Eternal Love and Fatherhood,-/Weak, sinful, blind, to Thee we kneel,/Stretch dumbly forth our hands, and feel/Our weakness is our strong appeal./So, by these Western gates of Even/We wait to see with thy forgiven/The opening Golden Gate of Heaven!/Suffice it now./In time to be/Shall holier altars rise to thee,-Thy Church our broad humanity!/White flowers of love its walls shall climb,/Soft bells of peace shall ring its chime,/Its days shall all be holy time./A sweeter song shall then be heard,-/The music of the world's accord/Confessing Christ, the Inward Word!/That song shall swell from shore to shore,/One hope, one faith, one love, restore/The seamless robe that Jesus wore." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS943].
[MS323]. Whittier, John Greenleaf 1807-1892. [letter, 1863, containing a poem mentioning Mt. Shasta]. In: Pickard, John B. The Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1975. pp. 52-53, 571. Vol. III. This letter to Whittier's publisher, dated Nov. 28, 1863, contains the first six lines of a church dedication hymn sent to Thomas Starr King. The poet prefaces the verse, which uses Mount Shasta as a symbol, by stating: " I have delayed sending my copy of the Prose volumes, as I hope to be in Boston ere-long. I shall not have anything ready for the next No. of the Mage. I have just sent what I think is a Hymn to T.S. King for the opening of his new 'steeple house.' I give thee the first verse as a specimen brick. -- "Amidst the glorious works of thine, / The solemn minarets of the pine, / And awful Shasta's icy shrine,- / Where swell thy hymns of wave and gale / And organ-thunders never fail / Behind the cataracts' silver veil' " (pp. 52-53). 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS323].
[MS627]. Wiley, Harley R. Shasta by Night [poem]. In: Out West . Sept., 1902. Vol. 17. No. 3. p. 350. 'Formerly The Land of Sunshine.' Twelve line poem. "The sunset drowns in drifts of red/The snowy plumes about thy head;/O'er lengths of desert land unfurled/Thy shadow dims the Eastern world./Aback from snow and icy scar/Is dashed the light of moon and star;/O'er crouching hills, in warning dumb/Thou holdest high thy 'Devil's thumb.'/Aghast thy weary climber slips/Along thy crater's frozen lips,/And trembles lest his footfall start/The thund'rous beatings of thy heart." 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS627].
[MS711]. Withrow, Shasta Sherri. Shasta [poem]. In: Withrow, Shasta Sherri. Shasta Land . the author, 1985? Pamphlet of self published poems. No date is given but was purchased by COS in 1985. The pamphlet contains 11 poems. One of the poems is called 'Shasta' and another is called 'Mystified Mountain.' 23. Literature: Poetry. [MS711].
[MS297]. Wright, Thomas. Mt. Shasta
in the Moonlight [poem]. In: White and Gold. May 15, 1924. Vol. 26. No.
1. pp. 27. Publication by the seniors of the Siskiyou Union High School District,
1924. Poem. 24 lines long.
Begins: 'The pale moon turned to ghastly white/The snows on Shasta's lofty height./Its dull beams left in dark array,/The lesser hills beneath her sway.'
Ends: 'For what are we to Nature's life?/To what amounts our petty strife?/I am no greater than a tree/In Nature's painted scenery.'
23. Literature: Poetry. [MS297].
Native Americans ~
Recreation ~ Maps ~ Mount Shasta Collection ~ Bibliography ~ Lesson Plans ~ About Project