Judah’s Foresight – about the Transcontinental Railroad, again

Is it ok to use a stentorian tone when speaking in a 19th century voice?

Theodore Judah

My dearest Anne,

I could not help but smile last night,

Wrinkles creasing my cheeks that in two months’ time

Will be wracked by deadly fever,

When you showed me your painting of our noble mountains –

A good painting – or so it seemed illumined by our campfire –

The painting not noble

But made by a woman’s fine hands

With intent that goes before the work,

Not so much like a siren as a bell.

It is our destiny, my dear, to burst our sacred wilderness apart,

As that other jungle will rupture me.

Some are cursed to step before they see, weary shovels preceding shoulders,

but you and I, we have a different doom

To see where we may never tread,

Or watch the creases between mountains where we once sat

Submerged in splitting trunks and melting rock.

I wonder if nature will forget to know

To tell the trees that summer’s coming:

Oil your engines, unfurl your leaves.

I wonder if men will forget to look to the ground before them,

Or if the ground will move too fast to look.

From my last bed in Panama,

Perhaps I will wonder what I have been doing,

Sowing the sterile seeds of our undoing

Into the knowing earth.

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