Emily Pauline Johnson

(10 March 1861 – 7 March 1913 / Chiefswood, Ontario)

Calgary of the plains Poem by Emily Pauline Johnson


Not of the seething cities with their swarming human hives,
Their fetid airs, their reeking streets, their dwarfed and poisoned lives,
Not of the buried yesterdays, but of the days to be,
The glory and the gateway of the yellow West is she.

The Northern Lights dance down her plains with soft and silvery feet,
The sunrise gilds her prairies when the dawn and daylight meet;
Along her level lands the fitful southern breezes sweep,
And beyond her western windows the sublime old mountains sleep.

The Redman haunts her portals, and the Paleface treads her streets,
The Indian's stealthy footstep with the course of commerce meets,
And hunters whisper vaguely of the half forgotten tales
Of phantom herds of bison lurking on her midnight trails.

Not hers the lore of olden lands, their laurels and their bays;
But what are these, compared to one of all her perfect days?
For naught can buy the jewel that upon her forehead lies--
The cloudless sapphire Heaven of her territorial skies.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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