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The flight of the crows

The autumn afternoon is dying o'er
 The quiet western valley where I lie
Beneath the maples on the river shore,
 Where tinted leaves, blue waters and fair sky
 Environ all; and far above some birds are flying by

To seek their evening haven in the breast
 And calm embrace of silence, while they sing
Te Deums to the night, invoking rest
 For busy chirping voice and tired wing--
 And in the hush of sleeping trees their sleeping cradles swing.

In forest arms the night will soonest creep,
 Where sombre pines a lullaby intone,
Where Nature's children curl themselves to sleep,
 And all is still at last, save where alone
 A band of black, belated crows arrive from lands unknown.

Strange sojourn has been theirs since waking day,
 Strange sights and cities in their wanderings blend
With fields of yellow maize, and leagues away
 With rivers where their sweeping waters wend
 Past velvet banks to rocky shores, in canyons bold to end.

O'er what vast lakes that stretch superbly dead,
 Till lashed to life by storm-clouds, have they flown?
In what wild lands, in laggard flight have led
 Their aerial career unseen, unknown,
 'Till now with twilight come their cries in lonely monotone?

The flapping of their pinions in the air
 Dies in the hush of distance, while they light
Within the fir tops, weirdly black and bare,
 That stand with giant strength and peerless height,
 To shelter fairy, bird and beast throughout the closing night.

Strange black and princely pirates of the skies,
 Would that your wind-tossed travels I could know!
Would that my soul could see, and, seeing, rise
 To unrestricted life where ebb and flow
 Of Nature's pulse would constitute a wider life below!

Could I but live just here in Freedom's arms,
 A kingly life without a sovereign's care!
Vain dreams! Day hides with closing wings her charms,
 And all is cradled in repose, save where
 Yon band of black, belated crows still frets the evening air.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:41 min read
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Emily Pauline Johnson

Emily Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake commonly known as E Pauline Johnson or just Pauline Johnson was a Canadian writer and performer popular in the late 19th century Pauline Johnson was notable for her poems and performances that celebrated her aboriginal heritage One such poem is the frequently anthologized The Song My Paddle Sings Her poetry was published in Canada the United States and Great Britain Johnson was one of a generation of widely read writers who began to define a Canadian national literature more…

All Emily Pauline Johnson poems | Emily Pauline Johnson Books

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