Isabella Valancy Crawford

(25 December 1850 – 12 February 1887 / Dublin, Ireland)

The Wooing Of Gheezis - Poem by Isabella Valancy Crawford

The red chief Gheezis, chief of the golden wampum, lay
And watched the west-wind blow adrift the clouds,
With breath all flowery, that from his calumet
Curl'd like to smoke about the mountain tops.
Gheezis look'd from his wigwam, blue as little pools
Drained from the restless mother-wave, that lay
Dreaming in golden hollows of her sands;
And deck'd his yellow locks with feath'ry clouds,
And took his pointed arrows and so stoop'd
And leaning with his red hands on the hills,
Look'd with long glances all along the earth.
'Mudjekeewis, West-Wind, in amongst the forest,
'I see a maid, gold-hued as maize full ripe; her eyes
'Laugh under the dusk boughs like watercourses;
'Her moccasins are wrought with threads of light: her hands
'Are full of blue eggs of the robin, and of buds
'Of lilies, and green spears of rice: O Mudjekeewis,
'Who is the maid, gold-hued as maize full-ripen'd?'
'O sun, O Gheezis, that is Spring, is Segwun--woo her!'
'I cannot, for she hides behind the behmagut--
'The thick leav'd grape-vine, and there laughs upon me.'
'O Gheezis,' cried Segwun from behind the grape-vine.
'Thy arms are long but all too short to reach me,
'Thou art in heaven and I upon the earth!'
Gheezis, with long, golden fingers tore the grape-vine,
But Segwun laughed upon him from behind
A maple, shaking little leaves of gold fresh-budded.
'Gheezis, where are thy feet, O sun, O chief?'
'Follow,' sigh'd Mudjekeewis, 'Gheezis must wed
'With Spring, with Segwun, or all nature die.'
The red chief Gheezis swift ran down the hills,
And as he ran the pools and watercourses
Snatch'd at his yellow hair; the thickets caught
Its tendrils on their brambles; and the buds
That Segwun dropp'd, opened as they touched.
His moccasins were flame, his wampum gold;
His plumes were clouds white as the snow, and red
As Sumach in the moon of falling leaves.
He slipp'd beside the maple, Segwun laugh'd.
'O Gheezis, I am hid amid the lily-pads,
'And thou hast no canoe to seek me there; farewell!'
'I see thine eyes, O Segwun, laugh behind the buds;
'The Manitou is love, and gives me love, and love
'Gives all of power.' His moccasins wide laid
Red tracks upon the waves: When Segwun leap'd
Gold-red and laughing from the lily-pads,
To flit before him like a fire-fly, she found
The golden arms of Gheezis round her cast, the buds
Burst into flower in her hands, and all the earth
Laughing where Gheezis look'd; and Mudjekeewis,
Heart friend of Gheezis, laugh'd, 'Now life is come
'Since Segwun and red Gheezis wed and reign!'

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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