Blanche Trask: Poet-Explorer-Naturalist

Blanche Trask, Poet-Explorer-Naturalist, did most of her California wild nature exploration and writing on the Channel Islands of Southern California. She was a resident of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island in Los Angeles County, California from 1895 to 1915 (20 Years). Her winter home was located next to the Tuna Club in Avalon, but she also had a summer home at the Isthmus where the Institute of Environmental Studies of USC is currently located. She corresponded with professors and scientists at UC Berkeley, Harvard University, the Smithsonian, and at the California Academy of Sciences in San Franciso. She also corresponded with Charles Lummis, editor of the Land of Sunshine, a literary magazine in which the following poem first appeared.

Blanche Trask published THE DEAD PAST in LAND OF SUNSHINE in July 1896 after living on Catalina Island for about one year. THE DEAD PAST was published just six months after her first poem called MASKING. THE DEAD PAST is the third (3rd) of ten (10) poems published by Blanche Trask spanning 10 years between 1896 and 1905. The above narrative and the poem was written and compiled by Robert Roy van de Hoek, April 2000, for educational purposes in recognition of Earth Day and the birthday of John Muir. The brief biography of Blanche Trask has since been revised in July 2000.

LAND OF SUNSHINE Volume 6, Number 1, Page 11. December 1896
Avalon, California1


The wind blows wild and free
My eucalyptus tree
Lends all its boughs for strings;
The wild wind turns and plays
A tune of other days;
The dead Past comes and sings.

The wind sobs as it plays
That tune of other days;
The dead Past sings, nor sighs;
It hath endured so much,
It cares not for the touch
That loosens older ties.

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