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Best Famous Beaver Poems

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12
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Blessing The Cornfields

 Sing, O Song of Hiawatha,
Of the happy days that followed,
In the land of the Ojibways,
In the pleasant land and peaceful!
Sing the mysteries of Mondamin,
Sing the Blessing of the Cornfields!
Buried was the bloody hatchet,
Buried was the dreadful war-club,
Buried were all warlike weapons,
And the war-cry was forgotten.
There was peace among the nations; Unmolested roved the hunters, Built the birch canoe for sailing, Caught the fish in lake and river, Shot the deer and trapped the beaver; Unmolested worked the women, Made their sugar from the maple, Gathered wild rice in the meadows, Dressed the skins of deer and beaver.
All around the happy village Stood the maize-fields, green and shining, Waved the green plumes of Mondamin, Waved his soft and sunny tresses, Filling all the land with plenty.
`T was the women who in Spring-time Planted the broad fields and fruitful, Buried in the earth Mondamin; `T was the women who in Autumn Stripped the yellow husks of harvest, Stripped the garments from Mondamin, Even as Hiawatha taught them.
Once, when all the maize was planted, Hiawatha, wise and thoughtful, Spake and said to Minnehaha, To his wife, the Laughing Water: "You shall bless to-night the cornfields, Draw a magic circle round them, To protect them from destruction, Blast of mildew, blight of insect, Wagemin, the thief of cornfields, Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear "In the night, when all Is silence,' In the night, when all Is darkness, When the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin, Shuts the doors of all the wigwams, So that not an ear can hear you, So that not an eye can see you, Rise up from your bed in silence, Lay aside your garments wholly, Walk around the fields you planted, Round the borders of the cornfields, Covered by your tresses only, Robed with darkness as a garment.
"Thus the fields shall be more fruitful, And the passing of your footsteps Draw a magic circle round them, So that neither blight nor mildew, Neither burrowing worm nor insect, Shall pass o'er the magic circle; Not the dragon-fly, Kwo-ne-she, Nor the spider, Subbekashe, Nor the grasshopper, Pah-puk-keena; Nor the mighty caterpillar, Way-muk-kwana, with the bear-skin, King of all the caterpillars!" On the tree-tops near the cornfields Sat the hungry crows and ravens, Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, With his band of black marauders.
And they laughed at Hiawatha, Till the tree-tops shook with laughter, With their melancholy laughter, At the words of Hiawatha.
"Hear him!" said they; "hear the Wise Man, Hear the plots of Hiawatha!" When the noiseless night descended Broad and dark o'er field and forest, When the mournful Wawonaissa Sorrowing sang among the hemlocks, And the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin, Shut the doors of all the wigwams, From her bed rose Laughing Water, Laid aside her garments wholly, And with darkness clothed and guarded, Unashamed and unaffrighted, Walked securely round the cornfields, Drew the sacred, magic circle Of her footprints round the cornfields.
No one but the Midnight only Saw her beauty in the darkness, No one but the Wawonaissa Heard the panting of her bosom Guskewau, the darkness, wrapped her Closely in his sacred mantle, So that none might see her beauty, So that none might boast, "I saw her!" On the morrow, as the day dawned, Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, Gathered all his black marauders, Crows and blackbirds, jays and ravens, Clamorous on the dusky tree-tops, And descended, fast and fearless, On the fields of Hiawatha, On the grave of the Mondamin.
"We will drag Mondamin," said they, "From the grave where he is buried, Spite of all the magic circles Laughing Water draws around it, Spite of all the sacred footprints Minnehaha stamps upon it!" But the wary Hiawatha, Ever thoughtful, careful, watchful, Had o'erheard the scornful laughter When they mocked him from the tree-tops.
"Kaw!" he said, "my friends the ravens! Kahgahgee, my King of Ravens! I will teach you all a lesson That shall not be soon forgotten!" He had risen before the daybreak, He had spread o'er all the cornfields Snares to catch the black marauders, And was lying now in ambush In the neighboring grove of pine-trees, Waiting for the crows and blackbirds, Waiting for the jays and ravens.
Soon they came with caw and clamor, Rush of wings and cry of voices, To their work of devastation, Settling down upon the cornfields, Delving deep with beak and talon, For the body of Mondamin.
And with all their craft and cunning, All their skill in wiles of warfare, They perceived no danger near them, Till their claws became entangled, Till they found themselves imprisoned In the snares of Hiawatha.
From his place of ambush came he, Striding terrible among them, And so awful was his aspect That the bravest quailed with terror.
Without mercy he destroyed them Right and left, by tens and twenties, And their wretched, lifeless bodies Hung aloft on poles for scarecrows Round the consecrated cornfields, As a signal of his vengeance, As a warning to marauders.
Only Kahgahgee, the leader, Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, He alone was spared among them As a hostage for his people.
With his prisoner-string he bound him, Led him captive to his wigwam, Tied him fast with cords of elm-bark To the ridge-pole of his wigwam.
"Kahgahgee, my raven!" said he, "You the leader of the robbers, You the plotter of this mischief, The contriver of this outrage, I will keep you, I will hold you, As a hostage for your people, As a pledge of good behavior!" And he left him, grim and sulky, Sitting in the morning sunshine On the summit of the wigwam, Croaking fiercely his displeasure, Flapping his great sable pinions, Vainly struggling for his freedom, Vainly calling on his people! Summer passed, and Shawondasee Breathed his sighs o'er all the landscape, From the South-land sent his ardor, Wafted kisses warm and tender; And the maize-field grew and ripened, Till it stood in all the splendor Of its garments green and yellow, Of its tassels and its plumage, And the maize-ears full and shining Gleamed from bursting sheaths of verdure.
Then Nokomis, the old woman, Spake, and said to Minnehaha: `T is the Moon when, leaves are falling; All the wild rice has been gathered, And the maize is ripe and ready; Let us gather in the harvest, Let us wrestle with Mondamin, Strip him of his plumes and tassels, Of his garments green and yellow!" And the merry Laughing Water Went rejoicing from the wigwam, With Nokomis, old and wrinkled, And they called the women round them, Called the young men and the maidens, To the harvest of the cornfields, To the husking of the maize-ear.
On the border of the forest, Underneath the fragrant pine-trees, Sat the old men and the warriors Smoking in the pleasant shadow.
In uninterrupted silence Looked they at the gamesome labor Of the young men and the women; Listened to their noisy talking, To their laughter and their singing, Heard them chattering like the magpies, Heard them laughing like the blue-jays, Heard them singing like the robins.
And whene'er some lucky maiden Found a red ear in the husking, Found a maize-ear red as blood is, "Nushka!" cried they all together, "Nushka! you shall have a sweetheart, You shall have a handsome husband!" "Ugh!" the old men all responded From their seats beneath the pine-trees.
And whene'er a youth or maiden Found a crooked ear in husking, Found a maize-ear in the husking Blighted, mildewed, or misshapen, Then they laughed and sang together, Crept and limped about the cornfields, Mimicked in their gait and gestures Some old man, bent almost double, Singing singly or together: "Wagemin, the thief of cornfields! Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear!" Till the cornfields rang with laughter, Till from Hiawatha's wigwam Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, Screamed and quivered in his anger, And from all the neighboring tree-tops Cawed and croaked the black marauders.
"Ugh!" the old men all responded, From their seats beneath the pine-trees!
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Lamentation

 In those days the Evil Spirits,
All the Manitos of mischief,
Fearing Hiawatha's wisdom,
And his love for Chibiabos,
Jealous of their faithful friendship,
And their noble words and actions,
Made at length a league against them,
To molest them and destroy them.
Hiawatha, wise and wary, Often said to Chibiabos, "O my brother! do not leave me, Lest the Evil Spirits harm you!" Chibiabos, young and heedless, Laughing shook his coal-black tresses, Answered ever sweet and childlike, "Do not fear for me, O brother! Harm and evil come not near me!" Once when Peboan, the Winter, Roofed with ice the Big-Sea-Water, When the snow-flakes, whirling downward, Hissed among the withered oak-leaves, Changed the pine-trees into wigwams, Covered all the earth with silence, Armed with arrows, shod with snow-shoes, Heeding not his brother's warning, Fearing not the Evil Spirits, Forth to hunt the deer with antlers All alone went Chibiabos.
Right across the Big-Sea-Water Sprang with speed the deer before him.
With the wind and snow he followed, O'er the treacherous ice he followed, Wild with all the fierce commotion And the rapture of the hunting.
But beneath, the Evil Spirits Lay in ambush, waiting for him, Broke the treacherous ice beneath him, Dragged him downward to the bottom, Buried in the sand his body.
Unktahee, the god of water, He the god of the Dacotahs, Drowned him in the deep abysses Of the lake of Gitche Gumee.
From the headlands Hiawatha Sent forth such a wail of anguish, Such a fearful lamentation, That the bison paused to listen, And the wolves howled from the prairies, And the thunder in the distance Starting answered "Baim-wawa!" Then his face with black he painted, With his robe his head he covered, In his wigwam sat lamenting, Seven long weeks he sat lamenting, Uttering still this moan of sorrow: "He is dead, the sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers! He has gone from us forever, He has moved a little nearer To the Master of all music, To the Master of all singing! O my brother, Chibiabos!" And the melancholy fir-trees Waved their dark green fans above him, Waved their purple cones above him, Sighing with him to console him, Mingling with his lamentation Their complaining, their lamenting.
Came the Spring, and all the forest Looked in vain for Chibiabos; Sighed the rivulet, Sebowisha, Sighed the rushes in the meadow.
From the tree-tops sang the bluebird, Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet musician!" From the wigwam sang the robin, Sang the robin, the Opechee, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweetest singer!" And at night through all the forest Went the whippoorwill complaining, Wailing went the Wawonaissa, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers!" Then the Medicine-men, the Medas, The magicians, the Wabenos, And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets, Came to visit Hiawatha; Built a Sacred Lodge beside him, To appease him, to console him, Walked in silent, grave procession, Bearing each a pouch of healing, Skin of beaver, lynx, or otter, Filled with magic roots and simples, Filled with very potent medicines.
When he heard their steps approaching~, Hiawatha ceased lamenting, Called no more on Chibiabos; Naught he questioned, naught he answered, But his mournful head uncovered, From his face the mourning colors Washed he slowly and in silence, Slowly and in silence followed Onward to the Sacred Wigwam.
There a magic drink they gave him, Made of Nahma-wusk, the spearmint, And Wabeno-wusk, the yarrow, Roots of power, and herbs of healing; Beat their drums, and shook their rattles; Chanted singly and in chorus, Mystic songs like these, they chanted.
"I myself, myself! behold me! `T Is the great Gray Eagle talking; Come, ye white crows, come and hear him! The loud-speaking thunder helps me; All the unseen spirits help me; I can hear their voices calling, All around the sky I hear them! I can blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha!" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayha-way!" the mystic chorus.
Friends of mine are all the serpents! Hear me shake my skin of hen-hawk! Mahng, the white loon, I can kill him; I can shoot your heart and kill it! I can blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha !" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayhaway!" the mystic chorus.
"I myself, myself! the prophet! When I speak the wigwam trembles, Shakes the Sacred Lodge with terror, Hands unseen begin to shake it! When I walk, the sky I tread on Bends and makes a noise beneath me! I can blow you strong, my brother! Rise and speak, O Hiawatha!" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Way-ha-way!" the mystic chorus.
Then they shook their medicine-pouches O'er the head of Hiawatha, Danced their medicine-dance around him; And upstarting wild and haggard, Like a man from dreams awakened, He was healed of all his madness.
As the clouds are swept from heaven, Straightway from his brain departed All his moody melancholy; As the ice is swept from rivers, Straightway from his heart departed All his sorrow and affliction.
Then they summoned Chibiabos From his grave beneath the waters, From the sands of Gitche Gumee Summoned Hiawatha's brother.
And so mighty was the magic Of that cry and invocation, That he heard it as he lay there Underneath the Big-Sea-Water; From the sand he rose and listened, Heard the music and the singing, Came, obedient to the summons, To the doorway of the wigwam, But to enter they forbade him.
Through a chink a coal they gave him, Through the door a burning fire-brand; Ruler in the Land of Spirits, Ruler o'er the dead, they made him, Telling him a fire to kindle For all those that died thereafter, Camp-fires for their night encampments On their solitary journey To the kingdom of Ponemah, To the land of the Hereafter.
From the village of his childhood, From the homes of those who knew him, Passing silent through the forest, Like a smoke-wreath wafted sideways, Slowly vanished Chibiabos! Where he passed, the branches moved not, Where he trod, the grasses bent not, And the fallen leaves of last year Made no sound beneath his footstep.
Four whole days he journeyed onward Down the pathway of the dead men; On the dead-man's strawberry feasted, Crossed the melancholy river, On the swinging log he crossed it, Came unto the Lake of Silver, In the Stone Canoe was carried To the Islands of the Blessed, To the land of ghosts and shadows.
On that journey, moving slowly, Many weary spirits saw he, Panting under heavy burdens, Laden with war-clubs, bows and arrows, Robes of fur, and pots and kettles, And with food that friends had given For that solitary journey.
"Ay! why do the living," said they, "Lay such heavy burdens on us! Better were it to go naked, Better were it to go fasting, Than to bear such heavy burdens On our long and weary journey!" Forth then issued Hiawatha, Wandered eastward, wandered westward, Teaching men the use of simples And the antidotes for poisons, And the cure of all diseases.
Thus was first made known to mortals All the mystery of Medamin, All the sacred art of healing.
Written by A R Ammons | Create an image from this poem

Shit List; Or Omnium-gatherum Of Diversity Into Unity

 You'll rejoice at how many kinds of **** there are:
gosling **** (which J.
Williams said something was as green as), fish **** (the generality), trout ****, rainbow trout **** (for the nice), mullet ****, sand dab ****, casual sloth ****, elephant **** (awesome as process or payload), wildebeest ****, horse **** (a favorite), caterpillar **** (so many dark kinds, neatly pelleted as mint seed), baby rhinoceros ****, splashy jaybird ****, mockingbird **** (dive-bombed with the aim of song), robin **** that oozes white down lawnchairs or down roots under roosts, chicken **** and chicken mite ****, pelican ****, gannet **** (wholesome guano), fly **** (periodic), cockatoo ****, dog **** (past catalog or assimilation), cricket ****, elk (high plains) ****, and tiny scribbled little shrew ****, whale **** (what a sight, deep assumption), mandril **** (blazing blast off), weasel **** (wiles' waste), gazelle ****, magpie **** (total protein), tiger **** (too acid to contemplate), moral eel and manta ray ****, eerie shark ****, earthworm **** (a soilure), crab ****, wolf **** upon the germicidal ice, snake ****, giraffe **** that accelerates, secretary bird ****, turtle **** suspension invites, remora **** slightly in advance of the shark ****, hornet **** (difficult to assess), camel **** that slaps the ghastly dry siliceous, frog ****, beetle ****, bat **** (the marmoreal), contemptible cat ****, penguin ****, hermit crab ****, prairie hen ****, cougar ****, eagle **** (high totem stuff), buffalo **** (hardly less lofty), otter ****, beaver **** (from the animal of alluvial dreams)—a vast ordure is a broken down cloaca—macaw ****, alligator **** (that floats the Nile along), louse ****, macaque, koala, and coati ****, antelope ****, chuck-will's-widow ****, alpaca **** (very high stuff), gooney bird ****, chigger ****, bull **** (the classic), caribou ****, rasbora, python, and razorbill ****, scorpion ****, man ****, laswing fly larva ****, chipmunk ****, other-worldly wallaby ****, gopher **** (or broke), platypus ****, aardvark ****, spider ****, kangaroo and peccary ****, guanaco ****, dolphin ****, aphid ****, baboon **** (that leopards induce), albatross ****, red-headed woodpecker (nine inches long) ****, tern ****, hedgehog ****, panda ****, seahorse ****, and the **** of the wasteful gallinule.
Written by Lewis Carroll | Create an image from this poem

Fit the Fifth ( Hunting of the Snark )

 The Beaver's Lesson 

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care; 
They pursued it with forks and hope; 
They threatened its life with a railway-share; 
They charmed it with smiles and soap.
Then the Butcher contrived an ingenious plan For making a separate sally; And fixed on a spot unfrequented by man, A dismal and desolate valley.
But the very same plan to the Beaver occurred: It had chosen the very same place: Yet neither betrayed, by a sign or a word, The disgust that appeared in his face.
Each thought he was thinking of nothing but "Snark" And the glorious work of the day; And each tried to pretend that he did not remark That the other was going that way.
But the valley grew narrow and narrower still, And the evening got darker and colder, Till (merely from nervousness, not from goodwill) They marched along shoulder to shoulder.
Then a scream, shrill and high, rent the shuddering sky, And they knew that some danger was near: The Beaver turned pale to the tip of its tail, And even the Butcher felt *****.
He thought of his childhood, left far far behind-- That blissful and innocent state-- The sound so exactly recalled to his mind A pencil that squeaks on a slate! "'Tis the voice of the Jubjub!" he suddenly cried.
(This man, that they used to call "Dunce.
") "As the Bellman would tell you," he added with pride, "I have uttered that sentiment once.
"'Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat; You will find I have told it you twice.
'Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete, If only I've stated it thrice.
" The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care, Attending to every word: But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair, When the third repetition occurred.
It felt that, in spite of all possible pains, It had somehow contrived to lose count, And the only thing now was to rack its poor brains By reckoning up the amount.
"Two added to one--if that could but be done," It said, "with one's fingers and thumbs!" Recollecting with tears how, in earlier years, It had taken no pains with its sums.
"The thing can be done," said the Butcher, "I think.
The thing must be done, I am sure.
The thing shall be done! Bring me paper and ink, The best there is time to procure.
" The Beaver brought paper,portfolio, pens, And ink in unfailing supplies: While strange creepy creatures came out of their dens, And watched them with wondering eyes.
So engrossed was the Butcher, he heeded them not, As he wrote with a pen in each hand, And explained all the while in a popular style Which the Beaver could well understand.
"Taking Three as the subject to reason about-- A convenient number to state-- We add Seven, and Ten, and then multiply out By One Thousand diminished by Eight.
"The result we proceed to divide, as you see, By Nine Hundred and Ninety Two: Then subtract Seventeen, and the answer must be Exactly and perfectly true.
"The method employed I would gladly explain, While I have it so clear in my head, If I had but the time and you had but the brain-- But much yet remains to be said.
"In one moment I've seen what has hitherto been Enveloped in absolute mystery, And without extra charge I will give you at large A Lesson in Natural History.
" In his genial way he proceeded to say (Forgetting all laws of propriety, And that giving instruction, without introduction, Would have caused quite a thrill in Society), "As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird, Since it lives in perpetual passion: Its taste in costume is entirely absurd-- It is ages ahead of the fashion: "But it knows any friend it has met once before: It never will look at a bride: And in charity-meetings it stands at the door, And collects--though it does not subscribe.
" Its flavor when cooked is more exquisite far Than mutton, or oysters, or eggs: (Some think it keeps best in an ivory jar, And some, in mahogany kegs) "You boil it in sawdust: you salt it in glue: You condense it with locusts and tape: Still keeping one principal object in view-- To preserve its symmetrical shape.
" The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day, But he felt that the lesson must end, And he wept with delight in attempting to say He considered the Beaver his friend.
While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks More eloquent even than tears, It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books Would have taught it in seventy years.
They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned (For a moment) with noble emotion, Said "This amply repays all the wearisome days We have spent on the billowy ocean!" Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became, Have seldom if ever been known; In winter or summer, 'twas always the same-- You could never meet either alone.
And when quarrels arose--as one frequently finds Quarrels will, spite of every endeavor-- The song of the Jubjub recurred to their minds, And cemented their friendship for ever!
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Introduction To The Song Of Hiawatha

 Should you ask me, 
whence these stories? 
Whence these legends and traditions, 
With the odors of the forest 
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations
As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answer, I should tell you,
"From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.
I repeat them as I heard them From the lips of Nawadaha, The musician, the sweet singer.
" Should you ask where Nawadaha Found these songs so wild and wayward, Found these legends and traditions, I should answer, I should tell you, "In the bird's-nests of the forest, In the lodges of the beaver, In the hoofprint of the bison, In the eyry of the eagle! "All the wild-fowl sang them to him, In the moorlands and the fen-lands, In the melancholy marshes; Chetowaik, the plover, sang them, Mahng, the loon, the wild-goose, Wawa, The blue heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, And the grouse, the Mushkodasa!" If still further you should ask me, Saying, "Who was Nawadaha? Tell us of this Nawadaha," I should answer your inquiries Straightway in such words as follow.
"In the vale of Tawasentha, In the green and silent valley, By the pleasant water-courses, Dwelt the singer Nawadaha.
Round about the Indian village Spread the meadows and the corn-fields, And beyond them stood the forest, Stood the groves of singing pine-trees, Green in Summer, white in Winter, Ever sighing, ever singing.
"And the pleasant water-courses, You could trace them through the valley, By the rushing in the Spring-time, By the alders in the Summer, By the white fog in the Autumn, By the black line in the Winter; And beside them dwelt the singer, In the vale of Tawasentha, In the green and silent valley.
"There he sang of Hiawatha, Sang the Song of Hiawatha, Sang his wondrous birth and being, How he prayed and how be fasted, How he lived, and toiled, and suffered, That the tribes of men might prosper, That he might advance his people!" Ye who love the haunts of Nature, Love the sunshine of the meadow, Love the shadow of the forest, Love the wind among the branches, And the rain-shower and the snow-storm, And the rushing of great rivers Through their palisades of pine-trees, And the thunder in the mountains, Whose innumerable echoes Flap like eagles in their eyries;- Listen to these wild traditions, To this Song of Hiawatha! Ye who love a nation's legends, Love the ballads of a people, That like voices from afar off Call to us to pause and listen, Speak in tones so plain and childlike, Scarcely can the ear distinguish Whether they are sung or spoken;- Listen to this Indian Legend, To this Song of Hiawatha! Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple, Who have faith in God and Nature, Who believe that in all ages Every human heart is human, That in even savage bosoms There are longings, yearnings, strivings For the good they comprehend not, That the feeble hands and helpless, Groping blindly in the darkness, Touch God's right hand in that darkness And are lifted up and strengthened;- Listen to this simple story, To this Song of Hiawatha! Ye, who sometimes, in your rambles Through the green lanes of the country, Where the tangled barberry-bushes Hang their tufts of crimson berries Over stone walls gray with mosses, Pause by some neglected graveyard, For a while to muse, and ponder On a half-effaced inscription, Written with little skill of song-craft, Homely phrases, but each letter Full of hope and yet of heart-break, Full of all the tender pathos Of the Here and the Hereafter; Stay and read this rude inscription, Read this Song of Hiawatha!
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Wedding-Feast

 You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis, 
How the handsome Yenadizze 
Danced at Hiawatha's wedding; 
How the gentle Chibiabos, 
He the sweetest of musicians, 
Sang his songs of love and longing; 
How Iagoo, the great boaster, 
He the marvellous story-teller, 
Told his tales of strange adventure, 
That the feast might be more joyous, 
That the time might pass more gayly, 
And the guests be more contented.
Sumptuous was the feast Nokomis Made at Hiawatha's wedding; All the bowls were made of bass-wood, White and polished very smoothly, All the spoons of horn of bison, Black and polished very smoothly.
She had sent through all the village Messengers with wands of willow, As a sign of invitation, As a token of the feasting; And the wedding guests assembled, Clad in all their richest raiment, Robes of fur and belts of wampum, Splendid with their paint and plumage, Beautiful with beads and tassels.
First they ate the sturgeon, Nahma, And the pike, the Maskenozha, Caught and cooked by old Nokomis; Then on pemican they feasted, Pemican and buffalo marrow, Haunch of deer and hump of bison, Yellow cakes of the Mondamin, And the wild rice of the river.
But the gracious Hiawatha, And the lovely Laughing Water, And the careful old Nokomis, Tasted not the food before them, Only waited on the others Only served their guests in silence.
And when all the guests had finished, Old Nokomis, brisk and busy, From an ample pouch of otter, Filled the red-stone pipes for smoking With tobacco from the South-land, Mixed with bark of the red willow, And with herbs and leaves of fragrance.
Then she said, "O Pau-Puk-Keewis, Dance for us your merry dances, Dance the Beggar's Dance to please us, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!" Then the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis, He the idle Yenadizze, He the merry mischief-maker, Whom the people called the Storm-Fool, Rose among the guests assembled.
Skilled was he in sports and pastimes, In the merry dance of snow-shoes, In the play of quoits and ball-play; Skilled was he in games of hazard, In all games of skill and hazard, Pugasaing, the Bowl and Counters, Kuntassoo, the Game of Plum-stones.
Though the warriors called him Faint-Heart, Called him coward, Shaugodaya, Idler, gambler, Yenadizze, Little heeded he their jesting, Little cared he for their insults, For the women and the maidens Loved the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis.
He was dressed in shirt of doeskin, White and soft, and fringed with ermine, All inwrought with beads of wampum; He was dressed in deer-skin leggings, Fringed with hedgehog quills and ermine, And in moccasins of buck-skin, Thick with quills and beads embroidered.
On his head were plumes of swan's down, On his heels were tails of foxes, In one hand a fan of feathers, And a pipe was in the other.
Barred with streaks of red and yellow, Streaks of blue and bright vermilion, Shone the face of Pau-Puk-Keewis.
From his forehead fell his tresses, Smooth, and parted like a woman's, Shining bright with oil, and plaited, Hung with braids of scented grasses, As among the guests assembled, To the sound of flutes and singing, To the sound of drums and voices, Rose the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis, And began his mystic dances.
First he danced a solemn measure, Very slow in step and gesture, In and out among the pine-trees, Through the shadows and the sunshine, Treading softly like a panther.
Then more swiftly and still swifter, Whirling, spinning round in circles, Leaping o'er the guests assembled, Eddying round and round the wigwam, Till the leaves went whirling with him, Till the dust and wind together Swept in eddies round about him.
Then along the sandy margin Of the lake, the Big-Sea-Water, On he sped with frenzied gestures, Stamped upon the sand, and tossed it Wildly in the air around him; Till the wind became a whirlwind, Till the sand was blown and sifted Like great snowdrifts o'er the landscape, Heaping all the shores with Sand Dunes, Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo! Thus the merry Pau-Puk-Keewis Danced his Beggar's Dance to please them, And, returning, sat down laughing There among the guests assembled, Sat and fanned himself serenely With his fan of turkey-feathers.
Then they said to Chibiabos, To the friend of Hiawatha, To the sweetest of all singers, To the best of all musicians, "Sing to us, O Chibiabos! Songs of love and songs of longing, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!" And the gentle Chibiabos Sang in accents sweet and tender, Sang in tones of deep emotion, Songs of love and songs of longing; Looking still at Hiawatha, Looking at fair Laughing Water, Sang he softly, sang in this wise: "Onaway! Awake, beloved! Thou the wild-flower of the forest! Thou the wild-bird of the prairie! Thou with eyes so soft and fawn-like! "If thou only lookest at me, I am happy, I am happy, As the lilies of the prairie, When they feel the dew upon them! "Sweet thy breath is as the fragrance Of the wild-flowers in the morning, As their fragrance is at evening, In the Moon when leaves are falling.
"Does not all the blood within me Leap to meet thee, leap to meet thee, As the springs to meet the sunshine, In the Moon when nights are brightest? "Onaway! my heart sings to thee, Sings with joy when thou art near me, As the sighing, singing branches In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries! "When thou art not pleased, beloved, Then my heart is sad and darkened, As the shining river darkens When the clouds drop shadows on it! "When thou smilest, my beloved, Then my troubled heart is brightened, As in sunshine gleam the ripples That the cold wind makes in rivers.
"Smiles the earth, and smile the waters, Smile the cloudless skies above us, But I lose the way of smiling When thou art no longer near me! "I myself, myself! behold me! Blood of my beating heart, behold me! Oh awake, awake, beloved! Onaway! awake, beloved!" Thus the gentle Chibiabos Sang his song of love and longing; And Iagoo, the great boaster, He the marvellous story-teller, He the friend of old Nokomis, Jealous of the sweet musician, Jealous of the applause they gave him, Saw in all the eyes around him, Saw in all their looks and gestures, That the wedding guests assembled Longed to hear his pleasant stories, His immeasurable falsehoods.
Very boastful was Iagoo; Never heard he an adventure But himself had met a greater; Never any deed of daring But himself had done a bolder; Never any marvellous story But himself could tell a stranger.
Would you listen to his boasting, Would you only give him credence, No one ever shot an arrow Half so far and high as he had; Ever caught so many fishes, Ever killed so many reindeer, Ever trapped so many beaver! None could run so fast as he could, None could dive so deep as he could, None could swim so far as he could; None had made so many journeys, None had seen so many wonders, As this wonderful Iagoo, As this marvellous story-teller! Thus his name became a by-word And a jest among the people; And whene'er a boastful hunter Praised his own address too highly, Or a warrior, home returning, Talked too much of his achievements, All his hearers cried, "Iagoo! Here's Iagoo come among us!" He it was who carved the cradle Of the little Hiawatha, Carved its framework out of linden, Bound it strong with reindeer sinews; He it was who taught him later How to make his bows and arrows, How to make the bows of ash-tree, And the arrows of the oak-tree.
So among the guests assembled At my Hiawatha's wedding Sat Iagoo, old and ugly, Sat the marvellous story-teller.
And they said, "O good Iagoo, Tell us now a tale of wonder, Tell us of some strange adventure, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!" And Iagoo answered straightway, "You shall hear a tale of wonder, You shall hear the strange adventures Of Osseo, the Magician, From the Evening Star descending.
"
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Sailing

 "Give me of your bark, O Birch-tree! 
Of your yellow bark, O Birch-tree! 
Growing by the rushing river, 
Tall and stately in the valley! 
I a light canoe will build me, 
Build a swift Cheemaun for sailing, 
That shall float on the river, 
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn, 
Like a yellow water-lily!
"Lay aside your cloak, O Birch-tree! 
Lay aside your white-skin wrapper, 
For the Summer-time is coming, 
And the sun is warm in heaven, 
And you need no white-skin wrapper!"
Thus aloud cried Hiawatha 
In the solitary forest, 
By the rushing Taquamenaw, 
When the birds were singing gayly, 
In the Moon of Leaves were singing, 
And the sun, from sleep awaking, 
Started up and said, "Behold me! 
Gheezis, the great Sun, behold me!"
And the tree with all its branches 
Rustled in the breeze of morning, 
Saying, with a sigh of patience, 
"Take my cloak, O Hiawatha!"
With his knife the tree he girdled; 
Just beneath its lowest branches, 
Just above the roots, he cut it, 
Till the sap came oozing outward;
Down the trunk, from top to bottom, 
Sheer he cleft the bark asunder, 
With a wooden wedge he raised it, 
Stripped it from the trunk unbroken.
"Give me of your boughs, O Cedar! Of your strong and pliant branches, My canoe to make more steady, Make more strong and firm beneath me!" Through the summit of the Cedar Went a sound, a cry of horror, Went a murmur of resistance; But it whispered, bending downward, 'Take my boughs, O Hiawatha!" Down he hewed the boughs of cedar, Shaped them straightway to a frame-work, Like two bows he formed and shaped them, Like two bended bows together.
"Give me of your roots, O Tamarack! Of your fibrous roots, O Larch-tree! My canoe to bind together, So to bind the ends together That the water may not enter, That the river may not wet me!" And the Larch, with all its fibres, Shivered in the air of morning, Touched his forehead with its tassels, Slid, with one long sigh of sorrow.
"Take them all, O Hiawatha!" From the earth he tore the fibres, Tore the tough roots of the Larch-tree, Closely sewed the hark together, Bound it closely to the frame-work.
"Give me of your balm, O Fir-tree! Of your balsam and your resin, So to close the seams together That the water may not enter, That the river may not wet me!" And the Fir-tree, tall and sombre, Sobbed through all its robes of darkness, Rattled like a shore with pebbles, Answered wailing, answered weeping, "Take my balm, O Hiawatha!" And he took the tears of balsam, Took the resin of the Fir-tree, Smeared therewith each seam and fissure, Made each crevice safe from water.
"Give me of your quills, O Hedgehog! All your quills, O Kagh, the Hedgehog! I will make a necklace of them, Make a girdle for my beauty, And two stars to deck her bosom!" From a hollow tree the Hedgehog With his sleepy eyes looked at him, Shot his shining quills, like arrows, Saying with a drowsy murmur, Through the tangle of his whiskers, "Take my quills, O Hiawatha!" From the ground the quills he gathered, All the little shining arrows, Stained them red and blue and yellow, With the juice of roots and berries; Into his canoe he wrought them, Round its waist a shining girdle, Round its bows a gleaming necklace, On its breast two stars resplendent.
Thus the Birch Canoe was builded In the valley, by the river, In the bosom of the forest; And the forest's life was in it, All its mystery and its magic, All the lightness of the birch-tree, All the toughness of the cedar, All the larch's supple sinews; And it floated on the river Like a yellow leaf in Autumn, Like a yellow water-lily.
Paddles none had Hiawatha, Paddles none he had or needed, For his thoughts as paddles served him, And his wishes served to guide him; Swift or slow at will he glided, Veered to right or left at pleasure.
Then he called aloud to Kwasind, To his friend, the strong man, Kwasind, Saying, "Help me clear this river Of its sunken logs and sand-bars.
" Straight into the river Kwasind Plunged as if he were an otter, Dived as if he were a beaver, Stood up to his waist in water, To his arm-pits in the river, Swam and scouted in the river, Tugged at sunken logs and branches, With his hands he scooped the sand-bars, With his feet the ooze and tangle.
And thus sailed my Hiawatha Down the rushing Taquamenaw, Sailed through all its bends and windings, Sailed through all its deeps and shallows, While his friend, the strong man, Kwasind, Swam the deeps, the shallows waded.
Up and down the river went they, In and out among its islands, Cleared its bed of root and sand-bar, Dragged the dead trees from its channel, Made its passage safe and certain, Made a pathway for the people, From its springs among the mountains, To the waters of Pauwating, To the bay of Taquamenaw.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Pau-Puk-Keewis

 You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis,
He, the handsome Yenadizze,
Whom the people called the Storm-Fool,
Vexed the village with disturbance;
You shall hear of all his mischief,
And his flight from Hiawatha,
And his wondrous transmigrations,
And the end of his adventures.
On the shores of Gitche Gumee, On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo, By the shining Big-Sea-Water Stood the lodge of Pau-Puk-Keewis.
It was he who in his frenzy Whirled these drifting sands together, On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo, When, among the guests assembled, He so merrily and madly Danced at Hiawatha's wedding, Danced the Beggar's Dance to please them.
Now, in search of new adventures, From his lodge went Pau-Puk-Keewis, Came with speed into the village, Found the young men all assembled In the lodge of old Iagoo, Listening to his monstrous stories, To his wonderful adventures.
He was telling them the story Of Ojeeg, the Summer-Maker, How he made a hole in heaven, How he climbed up into heaven, And let out the summer-weather, The perpetual, pleasant Summer; How the Otter first essayed it; How the Beaver, Lynx, and Badger Tried in turn the great achievement, From the summit of the mountain Smote their fists against the heavens, Smote against the sky their foreheads, Cracked the sky, but could not break it; How the Wolverine, uprising, Made him ready for the encounter, Bent his knees down, like a squirrel, Drew his arms back, like a cricket.
"Once he leaped," said old Iagoo, "Once he leaped, and lo! above him Bent the sky, as ice in rivers When the waters rise beneath it; Twice he leaped, and lo! above him Cracked the sky, as ice in rivers When the freshet is at highest! Thrice he leaped, and lo! above him Broke the shattered sky asunder, And he disappeared within it, And Ojeeg, the Fisher Weasel, With a bound went in behind him!" "Hark you!" shouted Pau-Puk-Keewis As he entered at the doorway; "I am tired of all this talking, Tired of old Iagoo's stories, Tired of Hiawatha's wisdom.
Here is something to amuse you, Better than this endless talking.
" Then from out his pouch of wolf-skin Forth he drew, with solemn manner, All the game of Bowl and Counters, Pugasaing, with thirteen pieces.
White on one side were they painted, And vermilion on the other; Two Kenabeeks or great serpents, Two Ininewug or wedge-men, One great war-club, Pugamaugun, And one slender fish, the Keego, Four round pieces, Ozawabeeks, And three Sheshebwug or ducklings.
All were made of bone and painted, All except the Ozawabeeks; These were brass, on one side burnished, And were black upon the other.
In a wooden bowl he placed them, Shook and jostled them together, Threw them on the ground before him, Thus exclaiming and explaining: "Red side up are all the pieces, And one great Kenabeek standing On the bright side of a brass piece, On a burnished Ozawabeek; Thirteen tens and eight are counted.
" Then again he shook the pieces, Shook and jostled them together, Threw them on the ground before him, Still exclaiming and explaining: "White are both the great Kenabeeks, White the Ininewug, the wedge-men, Red are all the other pieces; Five tens and an eight are counted.
" Thus he taught the game of hazard, Thus displayed it and explained it, Running through its various chances, Various changes, various meanings: Twenty curious eyes stared at him, Full of eagerness stared at him.
"Many games," said old Iagoo, "Many games of skill and hazard Have I seen in different nations, Have I played in different countries.
He who plays with old Iagoo Must have very nimble fingers; Though you think yourself so skilful, I can beat you, Pau-Puk-Keewis, I can even give you lessons In your game of Bowl and Counters!" So they sat and played together, All the old men and the young men, Played for dresses, weapons, wampum, Played till midnight, played till morning, Played until the Yenadizze, Till the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis, Of their treasures had despoiled them, Of the best of all their dresses, Shirts of deer-skin, robes of ermine, Belts of wampum, crests of feathers, Warlike weapons, pipes and pouches.
Twenty eyes glared wildly at him, Like the eyes of wolves glared at him.
Said the lucky Pau-Puk-Keewis: "In my wigwam I am lonely, In my wanderings and adventures I have need of a companion, Fain would have a Meshinauwa, An attendant and pipe-bearer.
I will venture all these winnings, All these garments heaped about me, All this wampum, all these feathers, On a single throw will venture All against the young man yonder!" `T was a youth of sixteen summers, `T was a nephew of Iagoo; Face-in-a-Mist, the people called him.
As the fire burns in a pipe-head Dusky red beneath the ashes, So beneath his shaggy eyebrows Glowed the eyes of old Iagoo.
"Ugh!" he answered very fiercely; "Ugh!" they answered all and each one.
Seized the wooden bowl the old man, Closely in his bony fingers Clutched the fatal bowl, Onagon, Shook it fiercely and with fury, Made the pieces ring together As he threw them down before him.
Red were both the great Kenabeeks, Red the Ininewug, the wedge-men, Red the Sheshebwug, the ducklings, Black the four brass Ozawabeeks, White alone the fish, the Keego; Only five the pieces counted! Then the smiling Pau-Puk-Keewis Shook the bowl and threw the pieces; Lightly in the air he tossed them, And they fell about him scattered; Dark and bright the Ozawabeeks, Red and white the other pieces, And upright among the others One Ininewug was standing, Even as crafty Pau-Puk-Keewis Stood alone among the players, Saying, "Five tens! mine the game is," Twenty eyes glared at him fiercely, Like the eyes of wolves glared at him, As he turned and left the wigwam, Followed by his Meshinauwa, By the nephew of Iagoo, By the tall and graceful stripling, Bearing in his arms the winnings, Shirts of deer-skin, robes of ermine, Belts of wampum, pipes and weapons.
"Carry them," said Pau-Puk-Keewis, Pointing with his fan of feathers, "To my wigwam far to eastward, On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo!" Hot and red with smoke and gambling Were the eyes of Pau-Puk-Keewis As he came forth to the freshness Of the pleasant Summer morning.
All the birds were singing gayly, All the streamlets flowing swiftly, And the heart of Pau-Puk-Keewis Sang with pleasure as the birds sing, Beat with triumph like the streamlets, As he wandered through the village, In the early gray of morning, With his fan of turkey-feathers, With his plumes and tufts of swan's down, Till he reached the farthest wigwam, Reached the lodge of Hiawatha.
Silent was it and deserted; No one met him at the doorway, No one came to bid him welcome; But the birds were singing round it, In and out and round the doorway, Hopping, singing, fluttering, feeding, And aloft upon the ridge-pole Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, Sat with fiery eyes, and, screaming, Flapped his wings at Pau-Puk-Keewis.
"All are gone! the lodge Is empty!" Thus it was spake Pau-Puk-Keewis, In his heart resolving mischief "Gone is wary Hiawatha, Gone the silly Laughing Water, Gone Nokomis, the old woman, And the lodge is left unguarded!" By the neck he seized the raven, Whirled it round him like a rattle, Like a medicine-pouch he shook it, Strangled Kahgahgee, the raven, From the ridge-pole of the wigwam Left its lifeless body hanging, As an insult to its master, As a taunt to Hiawatha.
With a stealthy step he entered, Round the lodge in wild disorder Threw the household things about him, Piled together in confusion Bowls of wood and earthen kettles, Robes of buffalo and beaver, Skins of otter, lynx, and ermine, As an insult to Nokomis, As a taunt to Minnehaha.
Then departed Pau-Puk-Keewis, Whistling, singing through the forest, Whistling gayly to the squirrels, Who from hollow boughs above him Dropped their acorn-shells upon him, Singing gayly to the wood birds, Who from out the leafy darkness Answered with a song as merry.
Then he climbed the rocky headlands, Looking o'er the Gitche Gumee, Perched himself upon their summit, Waiting full of mirth and mischief The return of Hiawatha.
Stretched upon his back he lay there; Far below him splashed the waters, Plashed and washed the dreamy waters; Far above him swam the heavens, Swam the dizzy, dreamy heavens; Round him hovered, fluttered, rustled Hiawatha's mountain chickens, Flock-wise swept and wheeled about him, Almost brushed him with their pinions.
And he killed them as he lay there, Slaughtered them by tens and twenties, Threw their bodies down the headland, Threw them on the beach below him, Till at length Kayoshk, the sea-gull, Perched upon a crag above them, Shouted: "It is Pau-Puk-Keewis! He is slaying us by hundreds! Send a message to our brother, Tidings send to Hiawatha!"
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

The Peace-Pipe

 On the Mountains of the Prairie,
On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,
On the red crags of the quarry
Stood erect, and called the nations,
Called the tribes of men together.
From his footprints flowed a river, Leaped into the light of morning, O'er the precipice plunging downward Gleamed like Ishkoodah, the comet.
And the Spirit, stooping earthward, With his finger on the meadow Traced a winding pathway for it, Saying to it, "Run in this way!" From the red stone of the quarry With his hand he broke a fragment, Moulded it into a pipe-head, Shaped and fashioned it with figures; From the margin of the river Took a long reed for a pipe-stem, With its dark green leaves upon it; Filled the pipe with bark of willow, With the bark of the red willow; Breathed upon the neighboring forest, Made its great boughs chafe together, Till in flame they burst and kindled; And erect upon the mountains, Gitche Manito, the mighty, Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe, As a signal to the nations.
And the smoke rose slowly, slowly, Through the tranquil air of morning, First a single line of darkness, Then a denser, bluer vapor, Then a snow-white cloud unfolding, Like the tree-tops of the forest, Ever rising, rising, rising, Till it touched the top of heaven, Till it broke against the heaven, And rolled outward all around it.
From the Vale of Tawasentha, From the Valley of Wyoming, From the groves of Tuscaloosa, From the far-off Rocky Mountains, From the Northern lakes and rivers All the tribes beheld the signal, Saw the distant smoke ascending, The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe.
And the Prophets of the nations Said: "Behold it, the Pukwana! By the signal of the Peace-Pipe, Bending like a wand of willow, Waving like a hand that beckons, Gitche Manito, the mighty, Calls the tribes of men together, Calls the warriors to his council!" Down the rivers, o'er the prairies, Came the warriors of the nations, Came the Delawares and Mohawks, Came the Choctaws and Camanches, Came the Shoshonies and Blackfeet, Came the Pawnees and Omahas, Came the Mandans and Dacotahs, Came the Hurons and Ojibways, All the warriors drawn together By the signal of the Peace-Pipe, To the Mountains of the Prairie, To the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry, And they stood there on the meadow, With their weapons and their war-gear, Painted like the leaves of Autumn, Painted like the sky of morning, Wildly glaring at each other; In their faces stem defiance, In their hearts the feuds of ages, The hereditary hatred, The ancestral thirst of vengeance.
Gitche Manito, the mighty, The creator of the nations, Looked upon them with compassion, With paternal love and pity; Looked upon their wrath and wrangling But as quarrels among children, But as feuds and fights of children! Over them he stretched his right hand, To subdue their stubborn natures, To allay their thirst and fever, By the shadow of his right hand; Spake to them with voice majestic As the sound of far-off waters, Falling into deep abysses, Warning, chiding, spake in this wise : "O my children! my poor children! Listen to the words of wisdom, Listen to the words of warning, From the lips of the Great Spirit, From the Master of Life, who made you! "I have given you lands to hunt in, I have given you streams to fish in, I have given you bear and bison, I have given you roe and reindeer, I have given you brant and beaver, Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl, Filled the rivers full of fishes: Why then are you not contented? Why then will you hunt each other? "I am weary of your quarrels, Weary of your wars and bloodshed, Weary of your prayers for vengeance, Of your wranglings and dissensions; All your strength is in your union, All your danger is in discord; Therefore be at peace henceforward, And as brothers live together.
"I will send a Prophet to you, A Deliverer of the nations, Who shall guide you and shall teach you, Who shall toil and suffer with you.
If you listen to his counsels, You will multiply and prosper; If his warnings pass unheeded, You will fade away and perish! "Bathe now in the stream before you, Wash the war-paint from your faces, Wash the blood-stains from your fingers, Bury your war-clubs and your weapons, Break the red stone from this quarry, Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes, Take the reeds that grow beside you, Deck them with your brightest feathers, Smoke the calumet together, And as brothers live henceforward!" Then upon the ground the warriors Threw their cloaks and shirts of deer-skin, Threw their weapons and their war-gear, Leaped into the rushing river, Washed the war-paint from their faces.
Clear above them flowed the water, Clear and limpid from the footprints Of the Master of Life descending; Dark below them flowed the water, Soiled and stained with streaks of crimson, As if blood were mingled with it! From the river came the warriors, Clean and washed from all their war-paint; On the banks their clubs they buried, Buried all their warlike weapons.
Gitche Manito, the mighty, The Great Spirit, the creator, Smiled upon his helpless children! And in silence all the warriors Broke the red stone of the quarry, Smoothed and formed it into Peace-Pipes, Broke the long reeds by the river, Decked them with their brightest feathers, And departed each one homeward, While the Master of Life, ascending, Through the opening of cloud-curtains, Through the doorways of the heaven, Vanished from before their faces, In the smoke that rolled around him, The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Picture-Writing

 In those days said Hiawatha,
"Lo! how all things fade and perish!
From the memory of the old men
Pass away the great traditions,
The achievements of the warriors,
The adventures of the hunters,
All the wisdom of the Medas,
All the craft of the Wabenos,
All the marvellous dreams and visions
Of the Jossakeeds, the Prophets!
"Great men die and are forgotten,
Wise men speak; their words of wisdom
Perish in the ears that hear them,
Do not reach the generations
That, as yet unborn, are waiting
In the great, mysterious darkness
Of the speechless days that shall be!
"On the grave-posts of our fathers
Are no signs, no figures painted;
Who are in those graves we know not,
Only know they are our fathers.
Of what kith they are and kindred, From what old, ancestral Totem, Be it Eagle, Bear, or Beaver, They descended, this we know not, Only know they are our fathers.
"Face to face we speak together, But we cannot speak when absent, Cannot send our voices from us To the friends that dwell afar off; Cannot send a secret message, But the bearer learns our secret, May pervert it, may betray it, May reveal it unto others.
" Thus said Hiawatha, walking In the solitary forest, Pondering, musing in the forest, On the welfare of his people.
From his pouch he took his colors, Took his paints of different colors, On the smooth bark of a birch-tree Painted many shapes and figures, Wonderful and mystic figures, And each figure had a meaning, Each some word or thought suggested.
Gitche Manito the Mighty, He, the Master of Life, was painted As an egg, with points projecting To the four winds of the heavens.
Everywhere is the Great Spirit, Was the meaning of this symbol.
Gitche Manito the Mighty, He the dreadful Spirit of Evil, As a serpent was depicted, As Kenabeek, the great serpent.
Very crafty, very cunning, Is the creeping Spirit of Evil, Was the meaning of this symbol.
Life and Death he drew as circles, Life was white, but Death was darkened; Sun and moon and stars he painted, Man and beast, and fish and reptile, Forests, mountains, lakes, and rivers.
For the earth he drew a straight line, For the sky a bow above it; White the space between for daytime, Filled with little stars for night-time; On the left a point for sunrise, On the right a point for sunset, On the top a point for noontide, And for rain and cloudy weather Waving lines descending from it.
Footprints pointing towards a wigwam Were a sign of invitation, Were a sign of guests assembling; Bloody hands with palms uplifted Were a symbol of destruction, Were a hostile sign and symbol.
All these things did Hiawatha Show unto his wondering people, And interpreted their meaning, And he said: "Behold, your grave-posts Have no mark, no sign, nor symbol, Go and paint them all with figures; Each one with its household symbol, With its own ancestral Totem; So that those who follow after May distinguish them and know them.
" And they painted on the grave-posts On the graves yet unforgotten, Each his own ancestral Totem, Each the symbol of his household; Figures of the Bear and Reindeer, Of the Turtle, Crane, and Beaver, Each inverted as a token That the owner was departed, That the chief who bore the symbol Lay beneath in dust and ashes.
And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets, The Wabenos, the Magicians, And the Medicine-men, the Medas, Painted upon bark and deer-skin Figures for the songs they chanted, For each song a separate symbol, Figures mystical and awful, Figures strange and brightly colored; And each figure had its meaning, Each some magic song suggested.
The Great Spirit, the Creator, Flashing light through all the heaven; The Great Serpent, the Kenabeek, With his bloody crest erected, Creeping, looking into heaven; In the sky the sun, that listens, And the moon eclipsed and dying; Owl and eagle, crane and hen-hawk, And the cormorant, bird of magic; Headless men, that walk the heavens, Bodies lying pierced with arrows, Bloody hands of death uplifted, Flags on graves, and great war-captains Grasping both the earth and heaven! Such as these the shapes they painted On the birch-bark and the deer-skin; Songs of war and songs of hunting, Songs of medicine and of magic, All were written in these figures, For each figure had its meaning, Each its separate song recorded.
Nor forgotten was the Love-Song, The most subtle of all medicines, The most potent spell of magic, Dangerous more than war or hunting! Thus the Love-Song was recorded, Symbol and interpretation.
First a human figure standing, Painted in the brightest scarlet; `T Is the lover, the musician, And the meaning is, "My painting Makes me powerful over others.
" Then the figure seated, singing, Playing on a drum of magic, And the interpretation, "Listen! `T Is my voice you hear, my singing!" Then the same red figure seated In the shelter of a wigwam, And the meaning of the symbol, "I will come and sit beside you In the mystery of my passion!" Then two figures, man and woman, Standing hand in hand together With their hands so clasped together That they seemed in one united, And the words thus represented Are, "I see your heart within you, And your cheeks are red with blushes!" Next the maiden on an island, In the centre of an Island; And the song this shape suggested Was, "Though you were at a distance, Were upon some far-off island, Such the spell I cast upon you, Such the magic power of passion, I could straightway draw you to me!" Then the figure of the maiden Sleeping, and the lover near her, Whispering to her in her slumbers, Saying, "Though you were far from me In the land of Sleep and Silence, Still the voice of love would reach you!" And the last of all the figures Was a heart within a circle, Drawn within a magic circle; And the image had this meaning: "Naked lies your heart before me, To your naked heart I whisper!" Thus it was that Hiawatha, In his wisdom, taught the people All the mysteries of painting, All the art of Picture-Writing, On the smooth bark of the birch-tree, On the white skin of the reindeer, On the grave-posts of the village.
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