The Happy Hunting Grounds
Into the rose gold westland, its yellow prairies roll,
World of the bison’s freedom, home of the Indian’s soul.
Roll out, O seas! in sunlight bathed,
Your plains wind-tossed, and grass enswathed.
Farther than vision ranges, farther than eagles fly,
Stretches the land of beauty, arches the perfect sky,
Hemm’d through the purple mists afar
By peaks that gleam like star on star.
Fringing the prairie billows, fretting horizon’s line,
Darkly green are slumb’ring wildernesses of pine,
Sleeping until the zephyrs throng
To kiss their silence into song.
Whispers freighted with odour swinging into the air,
Russet needles as censers swing to an altar, where
The angels’ songs are less divine
Than duo sung twixt breeze and pine.
Laughing into the forest, dimples a mountain stream,
Pure as the airs above it, soft as a summer dream,
O! Lethean spring thou’rt only found
Within this ideal hunting ground.
Surely the great Hereafter cannot be more than this,
Surely we’ll see that country after Time’s farewell kiss.
Who would his lovely faith condole?
Who envies not the Red-skin’s soul,
Sailing into the cloud land, sailing into the sun,
Into the crimson portals ajar when life is done?
O! dear dead race, my spirit too
Would fain sail westward unto you.
From Flint and Feather: The Complete Poems of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) (The Musson Book Co., Limited, 1917) by Emily Pauline Johnson. This poem is in the public domain.