The Indian Corn Planter

He needs must leave the trapping and the chase,
   For mating game his arrows ne’er despoil,
And from the hunter’s heaven turn his face,
   To wring some promise from the dormant soil.

He needs must leave the lodge that wintered him,
   The enervating fires, the blanket bed––
The women’s dulcet voices, for the grim
   Realities of laboring for bread.

So goes he forth beneath the planter’s moon
   With sack of seed that pledges large increase,
His simple pagan faith knows night and noon,
   Heat, cold, seedtime and harvest shall not cease.

And yielding to his needs, this honest sod,
   Brown as the hand that tills it, moist with rain,
Teeming with ripe fulfillment, true as God,
   With fostering richness, mothers every grain.

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.