A Cry From An Indian Wife Poem by Emily Pauline Johnson

A Cry From An Indian Wife

Rating: 2.8


My forest brave, my Red-skin love, farewell;
We may not meet to-morrow; who can tell
What mighty ills befall our little band,
Or what you'll suffer from the white man's hand?
Here is your knife! I thought 'twas sheathed for aye.
No roaming bison calls for it to-day;
No hide of prairie cattle will it maim;
The plains are bare, it seeks a nobler game:
'Twill drink the life-blood of a soldier host.
Go; rise and strike, no matter what the cost.
Yet stay. Revolt not at the Union Jack,
Nor raise Thy hand against this stripling pack
Of white-faced warriors, marching West to quell
Our fallen tribe that rises to rebel.
They all are young and beautiful and good;
Curse to the war that drinks their harmless blood.
Curse to the fate that brought them from the East
To be our chiefs--to make our nation least
That breathes the air of this vast continent.
Still their new rule and council is well meant.
They but forget we Indians owned the land
From ocean unto ocean; that they stand
Upon a soil that centuries agone
Was our sole kingdom and our right alone.
They never think how they would feel to-day,
If some great nation came from far away,
Wresting their country from their hapless braves,
Giving what they gave us--but wars and graves.
Then go and strike for liberty and life,
And bring back honour to your Indian wife.
Your wife? Ah, what of that, who cares for me?
Who pities my poor love and agony?
What white-robed priest prays for your safety here,
As prayer is said for every volunteer
That swells the ranks that Canada sends out?
Who prays for vict'ry for the Indian scout?
Who prays for our poor nation lying low?
None--therefore take your tomahawk and go.
My heart may break and burn into its core,
But I am strong to bid you go to war.
Yet stay, my heart is not the only one
That grieves the loss of husband and of son;
Think of the mothers o'er the inland seas;
Think of the pale-faced maiden on her knees;
One pleads her God to guard some sweet-faced child
That marches on toward the North-West wild.
The other prays to shield her love from harm,
To strengthen his young, proud uplifted arm.
Ah, how her white face quivers thus to think,
Your tomahawk his life's best blood will drink.
She never thinks of my wild aching breast,
Nor prays for your dark face and eagle crest
Endangered by a thousand rifle balls,
My heart the target if my warrior falls.
O! coward self I hesitate no more;
Go forth, and win the glories of the war.
Go forth, nor bend to greed of white men's hands,
By right, by birth we Indians own these lands,
Though starved, crushed, plundered, lies our nation low...
Perhaps the white man's God has willed it so

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Roseann Shawiak 18 September 2015

A very intense and poignant poem, very well written and portrayed, very vividly! Fantastic imagery and rhythm! Thank you for sharing. RoseAnn!

2 1 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 12 June 2021

1) they were acknowledged as a leading Canadian family (Gray 2002, p.61) . The Johnsons enjoyed a high standard of living, and their family and home were well known. Chiefswood was visited by such intellectual and

1 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 12 June 2021

2) political guests as the inventor Alexander Graham Bell, painter Homer Watson, noted anthropologist Horatio Hale, and Lady and Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada.

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 12 June 2021

3) 5 Stars full for this Greatest Human Monument in Words, in Poetic words for the great Canadian Poetess Emily Pauline Johnson

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Sylvia Frances Chan 12 June 2021

4) To my Favourites this so Beautiful most precious human Monument in poetic words

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Jennifer W. Haynes 13 June 2021

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Collins Briggs Obaa 13 June 2021

Nice poem

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Rose Marie Juan-austin 12 June 2021

A powerful, poignant and incisive poem. Well written and crafted.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 12 June 2021

Last but not least: Congratulations on the fact that this great poem is chosen as The CLASSIC POEM OF THE DAY, especiallly to her family in Canada

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Sylvia Frances Chan 12 June 2021

Thank YOU so much for sharing this most precious and important Human Monument in Poetic words

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Emily Pauline Johnson

Emily Pauline Johnson

Chiefswood, Ontario
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