Hanford Lennox Gordon Poems >>
Winona Death Of TaTe-Psin

The long winter wanes. On the wings
     of the spring come the geese and the mallards;
On the bare oak the red-robin sings,
     and the crocus peeps up on the prairies,
And the bobolink pipes, but he brings
     of the blue-eyed, brave White Chief no tidings.
With the waning of winter, alas,
     waned the life of the aged Ta-te-psin;
Ere the wild pansies peeped from the grass,
     to the Land of the Spirits he journeyed;
Like a babe in its slumber he passed,
     or the snow from the hill-tops of April;
And the dark-eyed Winona, at last,
     stood alone by the graves of her kindred.
When their myriad mouths opened the trees
     to the sweet dew of heaven and the raindrops,
And the April showers fell on the leas,
     on his mound fell the tears of Winona.
Round her drooping form gathered the years
     and the spirits unseen of her kindred,
As low, in the midst of her tears,
     at the grave of her father she chanted

  E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay!
  E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay!
  E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay!
 Ma-kah kin hay-chay-dan tay-han wan-kay.
 Tu-way ne ktay snee e-yay-chen e-wah chay.
  E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay!
  E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay!
Ma-kah kin hay-chay-dan tay-han wan-kay.

TRANSLATION.

  Sore is my sorrow!
  Sore is my sorrow!
  Sore is my sorrow!
 The earth alone lasts.
 I speak as one dying;
  Sore is my sorrow!
  Sore is my sorrow!
 The earth alone lasts.

Still hope, like a star in the night
     gleaming oft through the broken clouds somber,
Cheered the heart of Winona, and bright
     on her dreams beamed the face of the Frenchman.
As the thought of a loved one and lost,
     sad and sweet were her thoughts of the White Chief;
In the moon's mellow light, like a ghost,
     walked Winona alone by the _Ha-Ha_,
Ever wrapped in a dream. Far away--
     to the land of the sunrise--she wandered;
On the blue-rolling _Tanka-Mede_
     in the midst of her dreams, she beheld him--
In his white-winged canoe, like a bird,
     to the land of Dakotas returning,

And often in fancy she heard
     the dip of his oars on the river.
On the dark waters glimmered the moon,
     but she saw not the boat of the Frenchman.
On the somber night bugled the loon,
     but she heard not the song of the boatmen.
The moon waxed and waned, but the star
     of her hope never waned to the setting;
Through her tears she beheld it afar,
     like a torch on the eastern horizon.
"He will come,--he is coming," she said;
     "he will come, for my White Eagle promised,"
And low to the bare earth the maid
     bent her ear for the sound of his footsteps,
"He is gone, but his voice in my ear
     still remains like the voice of the robin;
He is far, but his footsteps I hear;
     he is coming; my White Chief is coming!"
But the moon waxed and waned. Nevermore
     will the eyes of Winona behold him.
Far away on the dark, rugged shore
     of the blue _Gitchee Gumee_ he lingers.
No tidings the rising sun brings;
     no tidings the star of the evening;
But morning and evening she sings,
     like a turtle-dove widowed and waiting:

 Ake u, ake u, ake u;
 Ma cante maseeca.
 Ake u, ake u, ake u;
 Ma cante maseca.

 Come again, come again, come again;
 For my heart is sad.
 Come again, come again, come again;
 For my heart is sad.