Helen Hunt Jackson


Helen Hunt Jackson

Born: October 15, 1830, Am­herst, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Died: August 12, 1885, San Fran­cis­co, Ca­li­for­nia.

Buried: Orig­in­al­ly at In­spi­ra­tion Point, ov­er­look­ing Co­lo­ra­do Springs, Co­lo­ra­do. Later re-in­terred at Ev­er­green Ce­me­te­ry, Co­lo­ra­do Springs.



Helen was the daugh­ter of Na­than Wel­by Fiske and De­bo­rah Wa­ter­man Vi­nal. She mar­ried twice, to Ed­ward Bis­sell Hunt (1852) and Will­iam Sharp­less Jack­son (1875).

Aside from her po­et­ry, she is prob­ab­ly best re­mem­bered as an ad­vo­cate for bet­ter treat­ment of Na­tive Am­eri­cans.



God’s Light-Houses

When night falls on the earth, the sea
From east to west lies twinkling bright
With shining beams from beacons high
Which flash afar a friendly light.

The sailor’s eyes, like eyes in prayer,
Turn unto them for guiding ray:
If storms obscure their radiance,
The great ships helpless grope their way.

When night falls on the earth, the sky
Looks like a wide, a boundless main.
Who knows what voyagers sail there?
Who names the ports they seek and gain?

Are not the stars like beacons set
To guide the argosies that go
From universe to universe,
Our little world above, below?

On their great errands solemn bent,
In their vast journeys unaware
Of our small planet’s name or place
Revolving in the lower air.

O thought too vast! O thought too glad!
An awe most rapturous it stirs.
From world to world God’s beacons shine:
God means to save His mariners!

Helen Hunt Jackson
Hetty’s Strange History, 1877