I am proud to be published by Karen Myers’ Perkunas Press, and even prouder to be the first writer in her Beyond The Ridges imprint. Karen chose her title well. Kipling was my first and is finally my favorite writer; as he wrote about “Janeites”, obsessive fans of Jane Austen, so I am “Rudyardite”, with a love for strange trails. I have asked Libby to have the following lines, from “The Song of the Dead”, chiseled on my grave:
We were dreamers, dreaming greatly, in the man-stifled town;
We yearned beyond the sky-line where the strange roads go down…
But the imprint is from another poem, The Explorer:
“There’s no sense in going further— it’s the edge of cultivation,”
So they said, and I believed it—broke my land and sowed my crop—
Built my barns and strung my fences in the little border station
Tucked away below the foothills where the trails run out and stop.
Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes 5
On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated—so:
“Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges—
“Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!”
So I went, worn out of patience; never told my nearest neighbours—
Stole away with pack and ponies—left ’em drinking in the town; 10
And the faith that moveth mountains didn’t seem to help my labours
As I faced the sheer main-ranges, whipping up and leading down.
March by march I puzzled through ’em, turning flanks and dodging shoulders,
Hurried on in hope of water, headed back for lack of grass;
Till I camped above the tree-line—drifted snow and naked boulders— 15
Felt free air astir to windward—knew I’d stumbled on the Pass.
’Thought to name it for the finder: but that night the Norther found me—
Froze and killed the plains-bred ponies; so I called the camp Despair
(It’s the Railway Gap to-day, though). Then my Whisper waked to hound me:—
“Something lost behind the Ranges. Over yonder! Go you there!”
There is more….