In hushed mountain passes where the cliffs cannot bar the windís way,
On sheer soaring ridges that no living soul has come near,
There once lived a genial echo, kindly, and gay.
And the sounds that it echoed were cries of human despair.
When solitude surged and then lodged like a lump in the throat,
And a choked, barely audible moan down the cliff would descend,
Then deftly that faint cry for help by the echo was caught,
And, swelling, born tenderly off to the arms of a friend.
There were no tramping feet or coarse shouts, so they cannot have been,
Simply men in whom sense had been dulled, whether drunken or drugged,
But they went out to murder, to silence the living ravine,
And the echo was bound fast and held, and its mouth roughly gagged.
Their vicious and murderous sport lasted all the night long,
And they trampled the echo, killed its voice, until nothing was left...
Though the echo was silenced, the shooting continued till dawn,
And stones spilled and cascaded like tears, as the wounded cliffs wept.