Overview


This pioneering book was the first to recognize Native American oral verse as a vibrant part of North American literature. First published in 1918, its ancient and modern songs were translated by the era's leading scholars and poets. The depth of its authenticity is matched by the scope of its variety, which covers both personal and ceremonial life.
All of North America's major tribes are represented here. Traditional poems from people of the Eastern Woodlands, the Southeast, ...
See more details below
Native American Poetry

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$12.95 List Price

Overview


This pioneering book was the first to recognize Native American oral verse as a vibrant part of North American literature. First published in 1918, its ancient and modern songs were translated by the era's leading scholars and poets. The depth of its authenticity is matched by the scope of its variety, which covers both personal and ceremonial life.
All of North America's major tribes are represented here. Traditional poems from people of the Eastern Woodlands, the Southeast, the Great Plains, the Southwest, California, the Northwest Coast, and the Far North include songs of the Iroquois, Cherokee, Comanche, Navajo, Eskimo, and others. Celebrating life's joys and sorrows in both the spirit and the flesh, this collection includes work songs, game songs, songs of suffering and love, and songs of birth, death, battle, and vision.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486120980
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 2/8/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 677 KB

Read an Excerpt

NATIVE AMERICAN POETRY


By George W. Cronyn

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-12098-0



CHAPTER 1

SONGS FROM THE EASTERN WOODLANDS


THE PARTED LOVERS

ABANAKI


I


THE MAN SINGS

My parents think they can separate me from the girl I love;

We have vowed to love each other while we live.

Their commands are vain: we shall see each other while the world lasts.

Yes! let them say or do what they like; we shall see each other while the rocks stand.


THE WOMAN SINGS

Here I sit on this point, whence I can see the man that I love.

Our people think that they can sever us; but I shall see him while the world lasts.

Here shall I remain, in sight of the one I love.


II

THE GIRL DESERTED BY HER JEALOUS COMPANIONS SINGS


    Now I am left on this lonely island to die-
    No one to hear the sound of my voice.
    Who will bury me when I die?
    Who will sing my death-song?


My false friends leave me here to die alone;

Like a wild beast, I am left on this island to die.

I wish the wind spirit would carry my cry to my love!

My love is swift as the deer; he would speed through the forest to find me.

Now I am left on this lonely island to die.

I wish the wind spirit would carry my cry to my love!

My love is as swift as the deer; he would speed through the forest to find me;

Now I am left on this lonely island to die.

I wish the spirit of air would carry my breath to my love.

My love's canoe, like sunlight, would shoot through the water to my side;

But I am left on this lonely island to die, with no one to pity me but the little birds.

My love is brave and strong; but, when he hears my fate, his heart will break.

And I am on this lonely island to die.

Now the night comes on, and all is silent but the owl.

He sings a mournful song to his mate, in pity for me.

I will try to sleep.

I wish the night spirit to hear my song; he will tell my love of my fate; and when I awake, I shall see the one I love.

I am on this lonely island to die.


III


HER LOVER SEES HER IN A DREAM AND, GOING TO SEARCH FOR HER, SINGS

Come, my beloved, let us go up that shining mountain, and sit together on that shining mountain; there we will watch the Sun go down in beauty from that shining place.

There we will sit, till the Night Traveler arises in beauty about the shining mountain; we will watch him as he climbs to the beautiful skies.

We will also watch the little Stars following their chief.

We will also watch the Northern Lights playing their game of ball in their cold, glistening country.

There we will sit, on the beautiful mountain, and listen to the Thunder beating his drum.

We will see the flashes from the lit pipe of the Lightning.

We will see the great Whirlwind race with Squall.

There we will sit, until all creatures drowse.

There we will hear the great Owl sing his usual song: "Go-to-sleep-all," and see all animals obey his call.

There we will sit in beauty on the mountain, and watch the small Stars in their sleepless flight.

They do not mind the song, "go-to-sleep-all"; neither will we mind it, but sit more closely together, and think of nothing but ourselves, on the beautiful mountain.

Again, the "go-to-sleep-all" will be heard, and the Night Traveler will come closer to warn us that all are sleeping, except ourselves and the little Stars.

They and their chief are coursing along, and our minds go with them.

Then the Owl sleeps; no more is heard "go - to - sleep - all"; the Lightnings flash afar; the great pipe is going out; the Thunder ceases beating his drum; and though our bodies urge us to be sleeping, we sit in beauty still upon the shining mountain.


VENGEANCE SONG

MICMAC


    Death I make, singing
    Heh-yeh! heh-yeh! heh-yeh! heh-yeh!
    Bones I hack, singing
    Heh-yeh! heh-yeh! heh-yeh! heh-yeh!
    Death I make, singing!
    Heh-yeh! heh-yeh! heh-yeh! heh-yeh!


IROQUOIS RITUAL OF FIRE AND DARKNESS

The members of the Ho-no-tci-no-ga Society assemble. Now the Med-icine Doctor or Shaman casts the sacred tobacco on the medicineblaze, and in a low voice he chants:


    Great Spirit who puts us to sleep in darkness,
    We thank thee for the silences of darkness.
    (Singer)
    Now I ask blessing and make prayers.
    (He sprinkles sacred tobacco on the fire.
    Then he speaks to the Invisible:)

    Now I give you tobacco,
    You, the great Darkness!
    (To the Thunder Spirit)
    Now we act as we offer you tobacco!
    You love it most of all offerings.
    With it you will hear us better
    And not tire of our talking
    But love us with all power
    Beyond all treasures
    Or spreading of words through the air!
    All men traveling under great heaven
    You have invited, your grandchildren and all nations;
    Oh you, maker of noise,
    You, the great Thunderer!
    Your grandchildren wish to thank you!
    All your grandchildren have asked me
    To offer this tobacco upon the mountain to you!
    (Speaking to the Great Spirit)
    You the All-maker,
    Above-all-high
    Best Friend of people!
    We ask you to help us!
    We implore your favor!
    I have spoken.


The lights are extinguished, leaving the assembly in total darkness. The Watcher of the Medicine uncovers the bundles, exposing it to the air, and as he does so a faint luminous cloud hovers over the table and disappears. Now the Chanter gives the signal and the 'members sing:


    THE CHANT OF DARKNESS

    Wait here in the darkness!
    Come, all you who listen,
    Go the magic journey:
    Now the sky is empty
    Of all sun-and-star-shine;
    Come, we lose our footing.
    Night no friend of ours is;
    She has shut her eyelids.
    Moon who has forgotten
    Lets us wait in darkness!


Now the chiefs take their rattles, shaking them softly as the Chanter sings and members of the clan give the whip- poor-will cry.


    THE CHANT OF INVITATION TO THE WHIP-POOR-WILL TOTEM

    (Chorus)
    Thus sings the Whip-poor-will,
    Follow me, follow me!
    Thus speaks the Chief to him,
    Yes, I will follow you!
    Lo! the night darkening
    Stalks through the shadow-land;
    No light to beckon us
    Murmurs the waterfall,
    Thus sings the river-voice!
    Someone is nearing us,
    Creeping upon us close,
    Two fires of eyes are close
    Lighting the forest path—
    Hear how his breath blows by!
    Fol-low me, fol-low me,—
    So sings the whip-poor-will!
    Yes, I am following—
    Thus the Chief answers him.

Cries announce that the Wolf and his mate have entered the room.


    Hark the trees whispering
    Bend their old bodies low,
    Not the strong North Wind's hand
    Nay, but One great and swift
    Parts them with whistling breath!
    Hark! how the thickets snap!
    Fearless the footfalls pass
    Pushing the trees apart!
    Great horns dividing them.
    (Again the Whip-poor-will chorus)

Now Buck and Doe, with cries, enter. The song continues:


    How I go shivering!
    No snow is falling now,
    Where hides the sun his fire?
    Something swift-footed comes
    Roaring and warning me!
    Eyes of the night it blinds,
    Falling like heavy mist!
    Now it creeps close to me,
    Warning and beckoning
    Where the black forest looms.
    (Whip-poor-will chorus)

The Bear and his mate have come and the song goes on:


    How the wind whistles now!
    No one dares race with it.
    Great trees bend low to it,
    Rivers fight back to it,
    Roaring and splashing it!
    Hear how its strong wings beat
    Deep in the gusty sky!
    High through the night it flies
    Whistling and screaming, still
    Hunting the prey that runs!
    (Whip-poor-will chorus)

The Hawk and its mate are announced. Then rites symbolizing the dangers of the forest tangles and swampy horrors are performed. According to, the legend Eagle must dismiss the meeting. His coming, which is imitated on the small flute, announces the day. As the dawn-light penetrates the ceremonial place the last chorus is chanted of


    THE EAGLE

    Deep the dew-water falls
    No one comes close to me!
    Where are you, Whip-poor-will?
    Why am I waiting now
    Calling you, calling you?
    Screaming the night away
    With his great feathers spread
    Catching the darkness up
    I hear the Eagle-bird
    Pulling the blanket back
    From the east, sleeping still.
    How swift he flies, bearing the sun to the morning;
    See how he perches there on the trail of the east-sky.
    Whip-poor-will, Wliip-poor-will,
    No more I follow thee!
    When night springs up again
    Will you cry, "Follow me?"
    The singing ends and the matrons bring in food and distribute it to all.


    FIRE-FLY SONG

    OJIBWA


    Flitting white-fire insects!
    Wandering small-fire beasts!
    Wave little stars about my bed!
    Weave little stars into my sleep!
    Come, little dancing white-fire bug,
    Come, little flitting white-fire beast!
    Light me with your white-flame magic,
    Your little star-torch.


    CALLING-ONE'S-OWN

    OJIBWA


    Awake ! flower of the forest, sky-treading bird of the prairie.
    Awake ! awake ! wonderful fawn-eyed One.
    When you look upon me I am satisfied; as flowers that drink dew.
    The breath of your mouth is the fragrance of flowers in the morning,
    Your breath is their fragrance at evening in the moon-of-fading-leaf.
    Do not the red streams of my veins run toward you
    As forest-streams to the sun in the moon of bright nights?
    When you are beside me my heart sings; a branch it is, dancing,
    Dancing before the Wind-spirit in the moon of strawberries.
    When you frown upon me, beloved, my heart grows dark—
    A shining river the shadows of clouds darken,
    Then with your smiles comes the sun and makes to look like gold
    Furrows the cold wind drew in the water's face.
    Myself! behold me! blood of my beating heart.
    Earth smiles—the waters smile—even the sky-of-clouds smiles—but I,
    I lose the way of smiling when you are not near,
    Awake ! awake ! my beloved.


    OJIBWA WAR SONGS

    I


    Hear my voice, Birds of War!
    I prepare a feast for you to feed on;
    I see you cross the enemy's lines;
    Like you I shall go.
    I wish the swiftness of your wings;
    I wish the vengeance of your claws;
    I muster my friends;
    I follow your flight.
    Ho, you young men warriors,
    Bear your angers to the place of fighting!


    II

    From the south they came, Birds of War-
    Hark! to their passing scream.
    I wish the body of the fiercest,
    As swift, as cruel, as strong.
    I cast my body to the chance of fighting.
    Happy I shall be to lie in that place,
    In that place where the fight was,
    Beyond the-enemy's line.


    III

    Here on my breast have I bled!
    See—see! these are fighting-scars!
    Mountains tremble at my yell!
    I strike for life.


    LOVE-SONG

    WINNEBAGO


    Whomsoe'er look I upon
    He becomes love-crazed;
    Whomsoe'er speak I unto,
    He becomes love-crazed;
    Whomsoe'er whisper I to,
    He becomes love-crazed;
    All men who love women,
    Them I rule, them I rule,
    My friend;
    Whom I touch, whom I touch,
    He becomes love-crazed.


    HOLY SONG

    WINNEBAGO


    (Saith the Spirit,
    "Dream, oh, dream again,
    And tell of me,
    Dream thou!")

    Into solitude went I
    And wisdom was revealed to me.
    (Saith the Spirit,
    "Dream, oh, dream again,
    And tell of me,
    Dream thou!")

    Let the whole world hear me,
    Wise am I!

    (Now saith the Spirit,
    "Tell of me,
    Dream thou!")

    All was revealed to me;
    From the beginning
    Know I all, hear me!
    All was revealed to me!

    (Now saith the Spirit,
    "Tell of me,
    Dream thou!")


    SACRED MIDÉ SONGS

    OJIBWA


    Drifting snow,
    why do I sing?

    The Sun and Moon,
    Their bodies
    shine over the world
    unto me as unto you, my Midé
    friend.


    SONGS OF THE CHIPPEWA

    HEALING SONG


    They are in close consultation
    with their heads together
    Wenabojo
    and his grandmother.


    LOVE-CHARM

    What are you saying to me?
    I am arrayed like the roses
    and beautiful as they.


I AM WALKING

Toward calm and shady places
I am walking
on the earth.


    THEY THINK ME UNWORTHY

    They think me unworthy
    my Midé brethren
    but look and see
    the length of my wigwam.


    THE SOUND IS FADING AWAY

    The sound is fading away
    It is of five sounds
    freedom
    The sound is fading away
    It is of five sounds.


    DOCTOR'S SONG

    I am singing and dreaming in my poor way
    over the earth
    I who will again disembark
    upon earth.


    SONG OF THE TREES

    The wind
    only
    I am afraid of.


    SONG OF THE THUNDERS

    Sometimes
    I go about pitying
    myself
    while I am carried by the wind
    across the sky.


    THE APPROACH OF THE STORM

    From the half
    of the sky
    that which lives there
    is coming, and makes a noise.


    I AM AFRAID OF THE OWL

    Very much
    also
    I
    of the owl
    am afraid
    whenever I am sitting alone
    in the wigwam.


    I AM AS BRAVE AS OTHER MEN

    Men who are brave and heroic
    as you esteem them to be
    Like them
    I also
    consider myself to be.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from NATIVE AMERICAN POETRY by George W. Cronyn. Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Page,
EARLY MOON,
INTRODUCTION,
SONGS FROM THE EASTERN WOODLANDS,
SONGS FROM THE SOUTHEAST,
SONGS FROM THE GREAT PLAINS,
SONGS FROM THE SOUTHWEST,
SONGS FROM CALIFORNIA,
SONGS FROM THE NORTHWEST COAST,
SONGS FROM THE FAR NORTH,
INTERPRETATIONS,
SONGS FROM THE HAKO: A PAWNEE CEREMONY,

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)