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Malcolm's Katie: A Love Story - Part IV.



From his far wigwam sprang the strong North Wind
And rush'd with war-cry down the steep ravines,
And wrestl'd with the giants of the woods;
And with his ice-club beat the swelling crests.
Of the deep watercourses into death,
And with his chill foot froze the whirling leaves
Of dun and gold and fire in icy banks;
And smote the tall reeds to the harden'd earth;
And sent his whistling arrows o'er the plains,
Scatt'ring the ling'ring herds--and sudden paus'd
When he had frozen all the running streams,
And hunted with his war-cry all the things
That breath'd about the woods, or roam'd the bleak
Bare prairies swelling to the mournful sky.
'White squaw,' he shouted, troubl'd in his soul,
'I slew the dead, wrestl'd with naked chiefs
'Unplum'd before, scalped of their leafy plumes;
'I bound sick rivers in cold thongs of death,
'And shot my arrows over swooning plains,
'Bright with the Paint of death--and lean and bare.
'And all the braves of my loud tribe will mock
'And point at me--when our great chief, the Sun,
'Relights his Council fire in the moon
'Of Budding Leaves.' 'Ugh, ugh! he is a brave!
'He fights with squaws and takes the scalps of babes!
'And the least wind will blow his calumet--
'Fill'd with the breath of smallest flow'rs--across
'The warpaint on my face, and pointing with
'His small, bright pipe, that never moved a spear
'Of bearded rice, cry, 'Ugh! he slays the dead!'
'O, my white squaw, come from thy wigwam grey,
'Spread thy white blanket on the twice-slain dead;
'And hide them, ere the waking of the Sun!'

* * * * *

High grew the snow beneath the low-hung sky,
And all was silent in the Wilderness;
In trance of stillness Nature heard her God
Rebuilding her spent fires, and veil'd her face
While the Great Worker brooded o'er His work.

* * * * *

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree,
What doth thy bold voice promise me?'

* * * * *

'I promise thee all joyous things,
That furnish forth the lives of kings!

* * * * *

'For ev'ry silver ringing blow,
Cities and palaces shall grow!'

* * * * *

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree,
Tell wider prophecies to me.'

* * * * *

'When rust hath gnaw'd me deep and red;
A nation strong shall lift his head!

* * * * *

'His crown the very Heav'ns shall smite,
Aeons shall build him in his might!'

* * * * *

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree;
Bright Seer, help on thy prophecy!'

* * * * *

Max smote the snow-weigh'd tree and lightly laugh'd.
'See, friend,' he cried to one that look'd and smil'd,
'My axe and I--we do immortal tasks--
We build up nations--this my axe and I!'
'O,' said the other with a cold, short smile,
'Nations are not immortal! is there now
'One nation thron'd upon the sphere of earth,
'That walk'd with the first Gods, and saw
'The budding world unfold its slow-leav'd flow'r?
'Nay; it is hardly theirs to leave behind
'Ruins so eloquent, that the hoary sage
'Can lay his hand upon their stones, and say:
''These once were thrones!' The lean, lank lion peals
'His midnight thunders over lone, red plains,
'Long-ridg'd and crested on their dusty waves,
'With fires from moons red-hearted as the sun;
'And deep re-thunders all the earth to him.
'For, far beneath the flame-fleck'd, shifting sands,
'Below the roots of palms, and under stones
'Of younger ruins, thrones, tow'rs and cities
'Honeycomb the earth. The high, solemn walls
'Of hoary ruins--their foundings all unknown
'(But to the round-ey'd worlds that walk
'In the blank paths of Space and blanker Chance).
'At whose stones young mountains wonder, and the seas'
'New-silv'ring, deep-set valleys pause and gaze;
'Are rear'd upon old shrines, whose very Gods
'Were dreams to the shrine-builders, of a time
'They caught in far-off flashes--as the child
'Half thinks he can remember how one came
'And took him in her hand and shew'd him that
'He thinks, she call'd the sun. Proud ships rear high
'On ancient billows that have torn the roots
'Of cliffs, and bitten at the golden lips
'Of firm, sleek beaches, till they conquer'd all,
'And sow'd the reeling earth with salted waves.
'Wrecks plunge, prow foremost, down still, solemn slopes,
'And bring their dead crews to as dead a quay;
'Some city built before that ocean grew,
'By silver drops from many a floating cloud,
'By icebergs bellowing in their throes of death,
'By lesser seas toss'd from their rocking cups,
'And leaping each to each; by dew-drops flung
'Fro
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:09 min read
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Isabella Valancy Crawford

Isabella Valancy Crawford was an Irish-born Canadian writer and poet. more…

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