OUR MOTHER POCAHONTAS

OUR MOTHER POCAHONTAS

By Vachel Lindsay

(Note: — Pocahontas is buried at Gravesend, England.)

I

Powhatan was conqueror,

Powhatan was emperor.

He was akin to wolf and bee,

Brother of the hickory tree.

Son of the red lightning stroke

And the lightning-shivered oak.

His panther-grace bloomed in the maid

Who laughed among the winds and played

In excellence of savage pride,

Wooing the forest, open-eyed,

In the springtime,

In Virginia,

Our Mother, Pocahontas.

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Her skin was rosy copper-red.

And high she held her beauteous head.

Her step was like a rustling leaf:

Her heart a nest, untouched of grief.

She dreamed of sons like Powhatan,

And through her blood the lightning ran.

Love-cries with the birds she sung,

Birdlike

In the grape-vine swung.

The Forest, arching low and wide

Gloried in its Indian bride.

Rolfe, that dim adventurer

Had not come a courtier.

John Rolfe is not our ancestor.

We rise from out the soul of her

Held in native wonderland,

While the sun’s rays kissed her hand,

In the springtime,

In Virginia,

Our Mother, Pocahontas.

II

She heard the forest talking,

Across the sea came walking,

And traced the paths of Daniel Boone,

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Then westward chased the painted moon.

She passed with wild young feet

On to Kansas wheat,

On to the miners’ west,

The echoing cañons’ guest,

Then the Pacific sand,

Waking,

Thrilling,

The midnight land….

On Adams street and Jefferson —

Flames coming up from the ground!

On Jackson street and Washington —

Flames coming up from the ground!

And why, until the dawning sun

Are flames coming up from the ground?

Because, through drowsy Springfield sped

This red-skin queen, with feathered head,

With winds and stars, that pay her court

And leaping beasts, that make her sport;

Because, gray Europe’s rags august

She tramples in the dust;

Because we are her fields of corn;

Because our fires are all reborn

From her bosom’s deathless embers,

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Flaming

As she remembers

The springtime

And Virginia,

Our Mother, Pocahontas.

III

We here renounce our Saxon blood.

Tomorrow’s hopes, an April flood

Come roaring in. The newest race

Is born of her resilient grace.

We here renounce our Teuton pride:

Our Norse and Slavic boasts have died:

Italian dreams are swept away,

And Celtic feuds are lost today….

She sings of lilacs, maples, wheat,

Her own soil sings beneath her feet,

Of springtime

And Virginia,

Our Mother, Pocahontas