Wayne wrote the following poem by candlelight late Monday night, July 10, 1944:
My favorite time is just before and after dusk!
The sun is still glaring, over bright with lust
My journey begins and as I progress
Upon me comes a wayward mood, I must confess.
The road is a winking, curved ribbon of dust.
My heart is receptive. Please consider it such.
The yellow grain in the fields long the way.
Ripples, sways, it does, as winds hold sway.
The thin clouds misty ribbons crown the west,
Swirls of orange and scarlet, colors blessed.
To the East, clouds tinged with lavender purple.
The world, thine magic visions does girdle.
The mountains westward are snow capped blue.
As sun begins to sink, they darken in my view
The sun gives forth one last frenzied flare
Ere it dies, ray’s strike snowy diamonds fair
The sky lined mountains are rugged etchings
My somber mind mood deepens, is matching.
The lonely darkened peacefulness of dusk.
The wheat fields rolling beside me turn rust
The superb mountains now fade into the night.
From my appreciative eyes, they creep from sight,
Where before were glorious expressions of nature
Only impenetrable night, do my eyes now measure.
I go into the evenings a portrait in mind.
One golden painting, seeking connoisseurs find.
Found only under gifted nuture’s delicate brush
The high way flows by in a fleeting rush
What is on the other side of this richness in color?
Lies there Shangri la or a passionate lover?
Lies there the land of dreams? Perhaps godly themes?
Heaven on earth is there, to my emotions, it seems!
The darkness descends on feathered, fleeting wings
The stars are suspended there on invisible strings
Proceeding forward, I hurdle the high crested hill.
My mood dies, my mind is momentarily still.
What causes this miracle of mooded flight?
There on the valley floor lights fill the night.
All colors and kinds, red white and green.
Here lies a dream city, gorgeously agleam
There lies a quickened, restless excitement
Places of pleasure for man’s enlightenment.
Sex does stroll in tailored raiment
Music plays a sensual dirge. Men are enslaved.
How can nature conquer devils sinful urges?
How can she compete with lusting surges?
I look, turn and flee. My soul remains mine.
Nature, in comparison to this is fair and kind!
Written by candlelight when loneliness lies upon a man’s soul.
Notes & Commentary
Wayne’s description of the sunset in this poem matches that created by the Rocky Mountains when viewed from the plains of Colorado. In a crowded barracks in the heat of the night on a South Pacific island, he is describing the sights that he would have seen as a young man growing up in northern Colorado.