To the Pine Tree

- 1800-1842
Zhingwaak gaa-ozhibii’aan Bamewawagezhikaquay
translated by Margaret Noodin

Zhingwaak! Zhingwaak! Ingii-ikid, – Pine! Pine! I said,

Weshki waabamag zhingwaak – The one I see, the pine

Dagoshinaan neyab, endanakiiyaan. – I return back, to my homeland.

Zhingwaak, zhingwaak nos sa! – The pine, the pine my father!

 

Azhigwa gidatisaanan – Already you are colored

Gaagige wezhaawashkozid. – Forever you are green

Mii sa naa azhigwa dagoshinaang – So we already have arrived

Bizindamig ikeyaamban – Listen in that direction

Geget sa, niminwendam – Certainly I am happy

Miinwaa, waabandamaan – And I see

Gii-ayaad awiiya waabandamaan niin – He was there I saw it myself

Zhingwaak, zhingwaak nos sa! – The pine, the pine my father!

Azhigwa gidatisaanan. – Already you are colored.

 

Gaawiin gego, gaa-waabanda’iyan – Nothing, you did show me

Dibishkoo, ezhi-naagwasiinoon – Like that, the way it looks

Zhingwaak wezhaawashkozid – Pine he is green.

Wiin eta gwanaajiwi wi – He is beautiful

Gaagige wezhaawashkozid. – Forever he is the green one.

Invocation

To my Maternal Grand-father on hearing his descent
from Chippewa ancestors misrepresented

Rise bravest chief! of the mark of the noble deer,
        	    	With eagle glance,
        	    	Resume thy lance,
And wield again thy warlike spear!
        	    	The foes of thy line,
        	    	With coward design,
Have dared with black envy to garble the truth,
And stain with a falsehood thy valorous youth.

They say when a child, thou wert ta’en from the Sioux,
        	    	And with impotent aim,
        	    	To lessen thy fame
Thy warlike lineage basely abuse;
        	    	For they know that our band,
        	    	Tread a far distant land,
And thou noble chieftain art nerveless and dead,
Thy bow all unstrung, and thy proud spirit fled.

Can the sports of thy youth, or thy deeds ever fade?
        	    	Or those e’er forget,
        	    	Who are mortal men yet,
The scenes where so bravely thou’st lifted the blade,
        	    	Who have fought by thy side,
        	    	And remember thy pride,
When rushing to battle, with valour and ire,
Thou saw’st the fell foes of thy nation expire?

Can the warrior forget how sublimely you rose?
        	    	Like a star in the west,
        	    	When the sun’s sink to rest,
That shines in bright splendour to dazzle our foes?
        	    	Thy arm and thy yell,
        	    	Once the tale could repel
Which slander invented, and minions detail,
And still shall thy actions refute the false tale.

Rest thou, noblest chief! in thy dark house of clay,
        	    	Thy deeds and thy name,
        	    	Thy child’s child shall proclaim,
And make the dark forests resound with the lay;
        	    	Though thy spirit has fled,
        	    	To the hills of the dead,
Yet thy name shall be held in my heart’s warmest core,
And cherish’d till valour and love be no more.

Related Poems

Dignity

And what, in fact, is dignity? In those
Who have it pure, it is the soul’s repose, 
The base of character—no mere reserve 
That springs from pride, or want of mental nerve.
The dignity that wealth, or station, breeds, 
Or in the breast on base emotion feeds, 
Is easy weighed, and easy to be sized—A bastard virtue, much to be despised.

True dignity is like a summer tree. 
Beneath whose shade both beast, and bird, and bee,
When by the heated skies oppressed, may come,
And feel, in its magnificence, at home; 
Or rather like a mountain which forgets
Itself in its own greatness, and so lets 
Vast armies fuss and fight upon its sides,
While high in clouds its peaceful summit hides,
And from the voiceless crest of glistening snow, 
Pours trickling fatness on the fields below;
Repellant force, that daunts obtrusive wrong,
And woos the timid steps of right along;
And hence a garb which magistrates prepare,
When called to judge, and really seem to wear. 
In framing character on whate’er plan, 
‘Tis always needed to complete the man, 
The job quite done, and Dignity without, 
Is like an apple pie, the fruit left out. 

 

Autumn

In the dreamy silence
Of the afternoon, a
Cloth of gold is woven
Over wood and prairie;
And the jaybird, newly
Fallen from the heaven,
Scatters cordial greetings,
And the air is filled with
Scarlet leaves, that, dropping,
Rise again, as ever,
With a useless sigh for
Rest—and it is Autumn.