Songs of the Spavinaw

I am the river of Spavinaw,
     I am the river of pain;
Sadness and gladness must answer my law;
Measure for measure I give, and withdraw
Back through the hills of the Spavinaw,
     Hiding away from the plain.

I am the river of Spavinaw;
     I sing the songs of the world;
Dashing and whirling, swishing and swirling,
Delicate, mystical, silvery spray hurling,
     Sing I the songs of the world,
     The passionate songs of the world.

I sing of laughter and mirth,
     And I laugh in a gurgle of glee
As the myriad joys of the earth
     Trip through the light with me.
Gay shallows dimple, sparkle and ripple.
     Like songs that a lover would sing,
        Skipping in moonlight,
        Tripping in moonlight,
     Whispering echoes of spring.

And again
     I move with the slow sadness of pain.
In my dark blue deep, where the shadows creep,
     I catch up life’s sorrows and mirror them back again.
And my song is a throbbing, pitiful sobbing,
     Choked by an agonized pain.

And then
     I move forth toward the beckoning north,
        And I sing of the power of men.
            As I dash down my falls,
            As I beat at my walls
Frantically fighting, running and righting,
All through the flood, through the snarling and biting,
        I sing of the power of men,
        Of the hurry and power of men.

        I am the river of Spavinaw,
        I am the giver of pain;
Sadness and gladness must answer my law;
Measure for measure I give, and withdraw
Back through the hills of the Spavinaw,
        Hiding away from the plain.

More by Ruth Muskrat Bronson

The Hunter’s Wooing

Come roam the wild hills, my Cherokee Rose, 
Come roam the wild hills with me. 
We’ll follow the path where the Spavinaw flows, 
Dashing wild on its way to the sea, 
On its wearisome way to the sea. 
We’ll chase the fleet deer from its lair in the woods;
We’ll follow the wolf to his den. 

When the sun hides his face, we’ll rest in the woods;
Hid away from the worry of men. 
Hid away from the bother of men. 

And then we’ll go home, my Cherokee Rose,
Where the Senecas live in the heart of the hills
By the rippling Cowskin, where the Saulchana grows, 
We’ll go home to the Coyauga hills, 
To the sheltering Coyauga hills. 

Related Poems

My Brook

Earth holds no sweeter secret anywhere
Than this my brook, that lisps along the green
Of mossy channels, where slim birch trees lean
Like tall pale ladies, whose delicious hair,
Lures and invites the kiss of wanton air.
The smooth soft grasses, delicate between
The rougher stalks, by waifs alone are seen,
Shy things that live in sweet seclusion there.

And is it still the same, and do the eyes
Of every silver ripple meet the trees
That bend above like guarding emerald skies?
I turn, who read the city’s beggared book,
And hear across the moan of many seas
The whisper and the laughter of my brook.