Her Last Message: The Heroine of Conenaugh Valley by Alice Ham

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"Mrs. Ogle, the operator, remained at her post, and wired to the stations below warnings of their danger from the advancing flood; wiring to South Fork she added the brave significant words: 'This is my last message.'"

A shout in the mountainous street,
A confusion of fugitive feet,
A roar that appalled in the air,
And an answering cry of despair.

"The great dam has burst!" Though as pale
As the rose in her gown, did she quail?
No! but sprang to her instrument straight;
"Let others escape, I shall wait" --

Tick! tick! and the message flies through
From the tremulous fingers but true,
To the valleys unconscious beneath
Of the rush of the waters of death.
Unrelenting and hungry they come,
"Forty feet and surmounted by foam,"  
They break from escarpment and wall,
They escape with a thunderous fall.

One brave woman has recognised fate,
And wires to South Fork ere too late ---
As the waters are nearing her fast:
"This is my last message --- my last!"  

Her last! and her best? Even so!  
On that day of unspeakable woe
She passed first through the flood-gates away,
But her message shall echo for aye!

First published in The Queenslander, 24 August 1889

Author reference site: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 24, 2012 8:44 AM.

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