Photo by Dru!(CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Song of the Hills

Being the song of a man and a woman who might have loved

American Indians Poems

This is the song of the Hills

In the hour when they talk together,

When the alpen glow dies down in the west

And leaves the heavens tender;

In the pure and shadowless hour

When the Mountains talk together:

 

"Fir tree leaneth to fir,

The wind-blown willows mingle;

Clouds draw each to each,

Dissolve, depart, and renew one another;

But the strong Hills hold asunder.

 

Had we been less we had loved,

We had stooped and been tender;

But our hands are under the earth

For the travail of her harvests,

Upholding the rain-sleeked fields

And the long, brown, fruitful furrow.

Terror taketh the earth

When the Mountains move together.

 

But ever as winds of spring

Set the meadow grasses caressing,

And the coo-dove calls

And the coo-dove's mate

Resounds in the oak-wood valleys,

We shall thrill with the brooding earth,

We shall turn, touch hands, and remember,

Had we been less, how much we had loved,

How nobly we might have been tender."

 

<the Yokut Indian>

Yokut Indian: One of the American Indians tribes who lives in the middle of California.  Today there are about 2000 enrolled Yokuts in the federally recognized tribe.

Warrior’s Song

 

Weep not for me, Loved Woman,

Should I die;

But for yourself be weeping!

 

Weep not for warriors who go

Gladly to battle.

Theirs to revenge

Fallen and slain of our people;

Theirs to lay low

All our foes like them,

Death to make, singing.

 

Weep not for warriors,

But weep for women!

Oh, weep for all women!

 

Theirs to be pitied

Most of all creatures,

Whose men return not!

How shall their hearts be stayed

When we are fallen?

 

Weep not for me, Loved Woman,

For yourself alone be weeping!

 

<anonymous>

 

 

These two poems were collected and translated from tribal languages such as Yokut into English by Mary Austin (1868 - 1934), an American writer and naturalist.  There are many other Indian poems in her "The American Rhythm” (1923)and “The Children Sing in the Far West” (1928)  other than these two.

 

You can read the thirteen poems of American Indian in “The Deer-Star” on the old website of Happano.