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- HIS cedar paddle, scented, red,
- He thrust down through the lily bed;
- Cloaked in a golden pause he lay,
- Locked in the arms of the placid bay.
- Trembled alone his bark canoe
- As shocks of bursting lilies flew
- Thro' the still crystal of the tide,
- And smote the frail boat's birchen side;
- Or, when beside the sedges thin
- Rose the sharp silver of a fin;
- Or when, a wizard swift and cold,
- A dragon-fly beat on in gold
- And jewels all the widening rings
- Of waters singing to his wings;
- Or, like a winged and burning soul,
- Dropped from the gloom an oriole
- On the cool wave, as to the balm
- Of the Great Spirit's open palm
- The freed soul flies. And silence clung
- To the still hours, as tendrilts hung,
- In darkness carven, from the trees,
- Sedge-buried to their burly knees.
- Stillness sat in his lodge of leaves;
- Clung golden shadows to its eaves,
- And on its cone-speced floor, like maize,
- Red-ripe, fell sheaves of knotted rays.
- The wood, a proud and crested brave;
- Bead-bright, a maiden, stood the wave.
- And he had spoke his soul of love
- With voice of eagle and of dove.
- Of loud, strong pines his tongue was made;
- His lips, soft blossoms in the shade,
- That kissed her silver lips--hers cool
- As lilies on his inmost pool--
- Till now he stood, in triumph's rest,
- His image painted in her breast.
- One isle 'tween blue and blue did melt,--
- A bead of wampum from the belt
- Of Manitou--a purple rise
- On the far shore heaved to the skies.
- His cedar paddle, scented, red,
- He drew up from the lily bed;
- All lily-locked, all lily-locked,
- His light bark in the blossoms rocked.
- Their cool lips round the sharp prow sang,
- Their soft clasp to the frail sides sprang,
- With breast and lip they wove a bar.
- Stole from her lodge the Evening Star;
- With golden hand she grasped the mane
- Of a red cloud on her azure plain.
- It by the peaked, red sunset flew;
- Cool winds from its bright nostrils blew.
- They swayed the high, dark trees,and low
- Swept the locked lilies to and fro.
- With cedar paddle, scented, red,
- He pushed out from the lily bed.
- Isabella Valancy Crawford
Poets' Corner .
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