All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 ESV
Benjamin and Nancy Simpson added to their family a son, Samuel, born on November 10, 1845, in Missouri. While still an infant, they moved to Oregon. Benjamin was a builder of roads and a politician of Oregon, shaping the state of Oregon. He also, by moving, made a lasting impact on Samuel, who grew to love the beautiful geography of the state.
Samuel primarily wrote poems but also wrote stories rich with character descriptions based on officers and Native Americans at Fort Yamhill. He published stories and poems in magazines and newspapers.
The poem he is known for, “Beautiful Willamette”, is a tribute to the beauty of the Willamette Valley. You can envision it just by listening to the first stanza.
From the Cascades’ frozen gorges, Leaping like a child at play, Winding, widening through the valley, Bright Willamette glides away; Onward ever, Lovely river, Softly calling to the sea, Time, that scars us, Maims and mars us, Leaves no track or trench of thee.
He left a poetic void in Oregon after his death. Harvey Scott, an editor of The Oregonian, said his death “leaves Oregon with no poet of merit or reputation.”
Posthumously published in 1910, The Gold-Gated West contained a collection of his poems and songs.
The people and geography inspired his prolific writing. All writing has a setting, whether stated overtly or not. Oregon inspired him to write and his writing well never ran dry, it constantly replenished.
The Holy Spirit will replenish our sea of ideas if we call on Him.
On a side note, as I was researching ideas for this last Poets’ Pavilion, I noticed a few items of interest:
- Samuel Simpson’s family moved from Missouri to Oregon.
- He was born on the Marine Corps birthday and spent time on a military base.
- His love of the Oregon landscape brought words to the page.
I am retiring Poets’ Pavilion and will segue into Oregon’s Beacons, same devotional format with a new subject.
The MP3 version