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Best Famous Reindeer Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Reindeer poems. This is a select list of the best famous Reindeer poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Reindeer poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of reindeer poems.

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

Hiawathas Childhood

 Downward through the evening twilight, 
In the days that are forgotten, 
In the unremembered ages, 
From the full moon fell Nokomis, 
Fell the beautiful Nokomis, 
She a wife, but not a mother.
She was sporting with her women, Swinging in a swing of grape-vines, When her rival the rejected, Full of jealousy and hatred, Cut the leafy swing asunder, Cut in twain the twisted grape-vines, And Nokomis fell affrighted Downward through the evening twilight, On the Muskoday, the meadow, On the prairie full of blossoms.
"See! a star falls!" said the people; "From the sky a star is falling!" There among the ferns and mosses, There among the prairie lilies, On the Muskoday, the meadow, In the moonlight and the starlight, Fair Nokomis bore a daughter.
And she called her name Wenonah, As the first-born of her daughters.
And the daughter of Nokomis Grew up like the prairie lilies, Grew a tall and slender maiden, With the beauty of the moonlight, With the beauty of the starlight.
And Nokomis warned her often, Saying oft, and oft repeating, "Oh, beware of Mudjekeewis, Of the West-Wind, Mudjekeewis; Listen not to what he tells you; Lie not down upon the meadow, Stoop not down among the lilies, Lest the West-Wind come and harm you!" But she heeded not the warning, Heeded not those words of wisdom, And the West-Wind came at evening, Walking lightly o'er the prairie, Whispering to the leaves and blossoms, Bending low the flowers and grasses, Found the beautiful Wenonah, Lying there among the lilies, Wooed her with his words of sweetness, Wooed her with his soft caresses, Till she bore a son in sorrow, Bore a son of love and sorrow.
Thus was born my Hiawatha, Thus was born the child of wonder; But the daughter of Nokomis, Hiawatha's gentle mother, In her anguish died deserted By the West-Wind, false and faithless, By the heartless Mudjekeewis.
For her daughter long and loudly Wailed and wept the sad Nokomis; "Oh that I were dead!" she murmured, "Oh that I were dead, as thou art! No more work, and no more weeping, Wahonowin! Wahonowin!" By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest, Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees, Rose the firs with cones upon them; Bright before it beat the water, Beat the clear and sunny water, Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
There the wrinkled old Nokomis Nursed the little Hiawatha, Rocked him in his linden cradle, Bedded soft in moss and rushes, Safely bound with reindeer sinews; Stilled his fretful wail by saying, "Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!" Lulled him into slumber, singing, "Ewa-yea! my little owlet! Who is this, that lights the wigwam? With his great eyes lights the wigwam? Ewa-yea! my little owlet!" Many things Nokomis taught him Of the stars that shine in heaven; Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet, Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses; Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits, Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs, Flaring far away to northward In the frosty nights of Winter; Showed the broad white road in heaven, Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows, Running straight across the heavens, Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.
At the door on summer evenings Sat the little Hiawatha; Heard the whispering of the pine-trees, Heard the lapping of the waters, Sounds of music, words of wonder; 'Minne-wawa!" said the Pine-trees, Mudway-aushka!" said the water.
Saw the fire-fly, Wah-wah-taysee, Flitting through the dusk of evening, With the twinkle of its candle Lighting up the brakes and bushes, And he sang the song of children, Sang the song Nokomis taught him: "Wah-wah-taysee, little fire-fly, Little, flitting, white-fire insect, Little, dancing, white-fire creature, Light me with your little candle, Ere upon my bed I lay me, Ere in sleep I close my eyelids!" Saw the moon rise from the water Rippling, rounding from the water, Saw the flecks and shadows on it, Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?" And the good Nokomis answered: "Once a warrior, very angry, Seized his grandmother, and threw her Up into the sky at midnight; Right against the moon he threw her; 'T is her body that you see there.
" Saw the rainbow in the heaven, In the eastern sky, the rainbow, Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?" And the good Nokomis answered: "'T is the heaven of flowers you see there; All the wild-flowers of the forest, All the lilies of the prairie, When on earth they fade and perish, Blossom in that heaven above us.
" When he heard the owls at midnight, Hooting, laughing in the forest, 'What is that?" he cried in terror, "What is that," he said, "Nokomis?" And the good Nokomis answered: "That is but the owl and owlet, Talking in their native language, Talking, scolding at each other.
" Then the little Hiawatha Learned of every bird its language, Learned their names and all their secrets, How they built their nests in Summer, Where they hid themselves in Winter, Talked with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's Chickens.
" Of all beasts he learned the language, Learned their names and all their secrets, How the beavers built their lodges, Where the squirrels hid their acorns, How the reindeer ran so swiftly, Why the rabbit was so timid, Talked with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers.
" Then Iagoo, the great boaster, He the marvellous story-teller, He the traveller and the talker, He the friend of old Nokomis, Made a bow for Hiawatha; From a branch of ash he made it, From an oak-bough made the arrows, Tipped with flint, and winged with feathers, And the cord he made of deer-skin.
Then he said to Hiawatha: "Go, my son, into the forest, Where the red deer herd together, Kill for us a famous roebuck, Kill for us a deer with antlers!" Forth into the forest straightway All alone walked Hiawatha Proudly, with his bow and arrows; And the birds sang round him, o'er him, "Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!" Sang the robin, the Opechee, Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa, "Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!" Up the oak-tree, close beside him, Sprang the squirrel, Adjidaumo, In and out among the branches, Coughed and chattered from the oak-tree, Laughed, and said between his laughing, "Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!" And the rabbit from his pathway Leaped aside, and at a distance Sat erect upon his haunches, Half in fear and half in frolic, Saying to the little hunter, "Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!" But he heeded not, nor heard them, For his thoughts were with the red deer; On their tracks his eyes were fastened, Leading downward to the river, To the ford across the river, And as one in slumber walked he.
Hidden in the alder-bushes, There he waited till the deer came, Till he saw two antlers lifted, Saw two eyes look from the thicket, Saw two nostrils point to windward, And a deer came down the pathway, Flecked with leafy light and shadow.
And his heart within him fluttered, Trembled like the leaves above him, Like the birch-leaf palpitated, As the deer came down the pathway.
Then, upon one knee uprising, Hiawatha aimed an arrow; Scarce a twig moved with his motion, Scarce a leaf was stirred or rustled, But the wary roebuck started, Stamped with all his hoofs together, Listened with one foot uplifted, Leaped as if to meet the arrow; Ah! the singing, fatal arrow, Like a wasp it buzzed and stung him! Dead he lay there in the forest, By the ford across the river; Beat his timid heart no longer, But the heart of Hiawatha Throbbed and shouted and exulted, As he bore the red deer homeward, And Iagoo and Nokomis Hailed his coming with applauses.
From the red deer's hide Nokomis Made a cloak for Hiawatha, From the red deer's flesh Nokomis Made a banquet to his honor.
All the village came and feasted, All the guests praised Hiawatha, Called him Strong-Heart, Soan-ge-taha! Called him Loon-Heart, Mahn-go-taysee!


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 Robert Louis Stevenson | Create an image from this poem

Winter-Time

 Late lies the wintry sun a-bed, 
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head; 
Blinks but an hour or two; and then, 
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies, At morning in the dark I rise; And shivering in my nakedness, By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sit To warm my frozen bones a bit; Or with a reindeer-sled, explore The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap Me in my comforter and cap; The cold wind burns my face, and blows Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod; Thick blows my frosty breath abroad; And tree and house, and hill and lake, Are frosted like a wedding cake.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

A GENERAL SUMMARY

 We are very slightly changed
From the semi-apes who ranged
 India's Prehistoric clay;
He that drew the longest bow
Ran his brother down, you know,
 As we run men down to-tday.
"Dowb," the first of all his race, Met the Mammoth face to face On the lake or in the cave: Stole the steadiest canoe, Ate the quarry others slew, Died -- and took the finest grave.
When they scratched the reindeer-bone, Some one made the sketch his own, Filched it from the artist -- then, Even in those early days, Won a simple Viceroy's praise Through the toil of other men.
Ere they hewed the Sphinx's visage Favouritism governed kissage, Even as it does in this age.
Who shall doubt "the secret hid Under Cheops' pyramid" Was that the contractor did Cheops out of several millions? Or that Joseph's sudden rise To comptroller of Supplies Was a fraud of monstrous size On King Pharaoh's swart Civilians? Thus, the artless songs I sing Do not deal with anything New or never said before.
As it was in the beginning Is to-day official sinning, And shall be for evermore!
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.
Written by Charles Webb | Create an image from this poem

The Death Of Santa Claus

 He's had the chest pains for weeks,
but doctors don't make house
calls to the North Pole,

he's let his Blue Cross lapse,
blood tests make him faint,
hospital gown always flap

open, waiting rooms upset
his stomach, and it's only
indigestion anyway, he thinks,

until, feeding the reindeer,
he feels as if a monster fist
has grabbed his heart and won't

stop squeezing.
He can't breathe, and the beautiful white world he loves goes black, and he drops on his jelly belly in the snow and Mrs.
Claus tears out of the toy factory wailing, and the elves wring their little hands, and Rudolph's nose blinks like a sad ambulance light, and in a tract house in Houston, Texas, I'm 8, telling my mom that stupid kids at school say Santa's a big fake, and she sits with me on our purple-flowered couch, and takes my hand, tears in her throat, the terrible news rising in her eyes.


Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

In the Neolithic Age

 1895

I the Neolithic Age savage warfare did I wage
 For food and fame and woolly horses' pelt.
I was singer to my clan in that dim, red Dawn of Man, And I sang of all we fought and feared and felt.
Yea, I sang as now I sing, when the Prehistoric spring Made the piled Biscayan ice-pack split and shove; And the troll and gnome and dwerg, and the Gods of Cliff and Berg Were about me and beneath me and above.
But a rival, of Solutre, told the tribe my style was outre-- 'Neath a tomahawk, of diorite, he fell And I left my views on Art, barbed and tanged below the heart Of a mammothistic etcher at Grenelle.
Then I stripped them, scalp from skull, and my hunting-dogs fed full, And their teeth I threaded neatly on a thong; And I wiped my mouth and said, "It is well that they are dead, For I know my work is right and theirs was wrong.
" But my Totem saw the shame; from his ridgepole-shrine he came, And he told me in a vision of the night: -- "There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, "And every single one of them is right!" .
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.
.
Then the silence closed upon me till They put new clothing on me Of whiter, weaker fresh and bone more frail; .
And I stepped beneath Time's finger, once again a tribal singer, And a minor poet certified by Traill! Still they skirmish to and fro, men my messmates on the snow When we headed off the aurochs turn for turn; When the rich Allobrogenses never kept amanuenses, And our only plots were piled in lakes at Berne.
Still a cultured Christian age sees us scuffle, squeak, and rage, Still we pinch and slap and jabber, scratch and dirk; Still we let our business slide--as we dropped the half-dressed hide-- To show a fellow-savage how to work.
Still the world is wondrous large,--seven seas from marge to marge-- And it holds a vast of various kinds of man; And the wildest dreams of Kew are the facts of Khatmandhu And the crimes of Clapham chaste in Martaban.
Here's my wisdom for your use, as I learned it when the moose And the reindeer roared where Paris roars to-night:-- "There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, "And--every--single--one--of--them--is--right!"
Written by Wystan Hugh (W H) Auden | Create an image from this poem

The Fall of Rome

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.
Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.
Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.
Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.
Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
On a pink official form.
Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.
Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.
Written by Marilyn Hacker | Create an image from this poem

Rune of the Finland Woman

 For Sára Karig

"You are so wise," the reindeer said, "you can bind the winds of the world in a single strand.
"—H.
C.
Andersen, "The Snow Queen" She could bind the world's winds in a single strand.
She could find the world's words in a singing wind.
She could lend a weird will to a mottled hand.
She could wind a willed word from a muddled mind.
She could wend the wild woods on a saddled hind.
She could sound a wellspring with a rowan wand.
She could bind the wolf's wounds in a swaddling band.
She could bind a banned book in a silken skin.
She could spend a world war on invaded land.
She could pound the dry roots to a kind of bread.
She could feed a road gang on invented food.
She could find the spare parts of the severed dead.
She could find the stone limbs in a waste of sand.
She could stand the pit cold with a withered lung.
She could handle bad puns in the slang she learned.
She could dandle foundlings in their mother tongue.
She could plait a child's hair with a fishbone comb.
She could tend a coal fire in the Arctic wind.
She could mend an engine with a sewing pin.
She could warm the dark feet of a dying man.
She could drink the stone soup from a doubtful well.
She could breathe the green stink of a trench latrine.
She could drink a queen's share of important wine.
She could think a few things she would never tell.
She could learn the hand code of the deaf and blind.
She could earn the iron keys of the frozen queen.
She could wander uphill with a drunken friend.
She could bind the world's winds in a single strand.
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