The White Wampum

by Emily Pauline Johnson




WHAT of the days when we two dreamed together?
    Days marvelously fair,
As lightsome as a skyward-floating feather
    Sailing on summer air—
Summer, summer, that came drifting through
Fate’s hand to me, to you.

What of the days, my dear? I sometimes wonder
    If you too wish this sky
Could be the blue we sailed so softly under,
    In that sun-kissed July;
Sailed in the warm and yellow afternoon,
With hearts in touch and tune.

Have you no longing to relive the dreaming,
    Adrift in my canoe?
To watch my paddle blade all wet and gleaming
    Cleaving the waters through?
To lie wind-blown and wave-caressed, until
Your restless pulse grows still? [Page 74]

Do you not long to listen to the purling
    Of foam athwart the keel?
To hear the nearing rapids softly swirling
    Among their stones, to feel
The boat’s unsteady tremor as it braves
The wild and snarling waves?

What need of question, what of your replying?
    Oh! well I know that you
Would toss the world away to be but lying
    Again in my canoe,
In listless indolence entranced and lost,
Wave-rocked, and passion-tossed.

Ah me! my paddle failed me in the steering
    Across love’s shoreless seas;
All reckless, I had ne’er a thought of fearing
    Such dreary days as these,
When through the self-same rapids we dash by.
My lone canoe and I. [Page 75]