But The Hills Were Ancient Then

But The Hills Were Ancient Then
by Robert Ervin Howard

Now is a summer come out of the sea,
   And the hills that were bare are green.
They shower the petals and the bee
   On the valleys that laze between.

So it was in the dreaming past,
   And life is a shifting maze,
Summer on summer fading fast,
   In a mist of yesterdays.

Out of the East, the tang of smoke,
   The flight of the startled deer,
A ringing axe the silence broke,
   The tread of the pioneer.

Saxon eyes in a weathered face,
   Cabins where trees had been,
Hard on the heels of a fading race,
   But the hills were ancient then.

Up from the South a haze of dust,
   The pack mules' steady pace,
Armor tarnished and red with rust,
 Stern eyes in a sun-bronzed face.

The mesquite mocked the flag of Spain,
   That the wind flung out again,
The grass bent under the pack mule train—
   But the hills were ancient then.