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Tso-le-oh-woh

Little is known of Cherokee poet Tso-Le-Oh-Woh, also spelled Tsoo-le-oh-wah. His poem "What an Indian Thought When He Saw the Comet" was published in The Cherokee Advocate shortly after the Klinkerfues comet passed through the skies in 1853.

By This Poet

2

What an Indian Thought When He Saw the Comet

Flaming wonderer! that dost leave vaunting, proud
Ambition boasting its lightning fringed
Immensity—cleaving wings, gaudy dipp’d
In sunset’s blossoming splendors bright and
Tinsel fire, with puny flight fluttering
Far behind! Thou that art cloth’d in mistery
More startling and more glorious than thine own
Encircling fires—profound as the oceans
Of shoreless space through which now thou flyest!
Art thou some erring world now deep engulph’d
In hellish, Judgement fires, with phrenzied ire
And fury hot, like some dread sky rocket
Of Eternity, flaming, vast, plunging
Thro’ immensity, scatt’ring in thy track
The wrathful fires of thine own damnation
Or wingest thou with direful speed, the ear
Of some flaming god of far off systems
Within these skies unheard of and unknown?
Ye Gods! How proud the thought to mount this orb
Of fire—boom thro’ the breathless oceans vast
Of big immensity—quickly leaving
Far behind all that for long ages gone
Dull, gray headed dames have prated of—
Travel far off mystic eternities—
Then proudly, on this little twisting ball
Returning once more set foot, glowing with
The splendors of a vast intelligence—
Frizzling little, puny humanity
Into icy horrors—bursting the big
Wide-spread eyeball of dismay—to recount
Direful regions travers’d and wonders seen!
Why I’d be as great a man as Fremont
Who cross’d the Rocky Mountains, didn’t freeze
And’s got a gold mine!

A Red Man's Thoughts

Suggested by the eagerness and the multitude of the applicants for Indian Superindendencies and Agencies

’Tis strange to think how hard they love us—
   These kind-hearted Christian whites
Tho’ “by nature so far above us”
   Stooping each his fondness plights.

How blest we are, we little reds
   To get such great attentions—
Pure love for us has addled heads
   Of most superb pretentions.

These good old souls along the line
   Will sell their very purses—
Take long travels—grow quite divine—
   To get to be our nurses.

Of dimes and cents they never dream
   Or stoop to flatt’ries hollow;
O’er their proud souls doth never gleam
   The magic of a dollar. No indeed!

They kneeling plead for our poor race
   All elbowing off th’ others,
With streaming eyes they stretch their grace
   To get to be our “fathers.”

We are but children at the most,
   Poor, weakly, red and puny,
But for our dear sakes to brave the worst,
   Indeed ’tis “sorter” funny.

They leave their homes and all that’s dear—
   Go to the Fed’ral City—
Yet oft, Uncle Sam! he will not hear,
   Indeed it is a pity.

If he but knew how hard they loved us—
   How all their examples past
Have so moralized and improved us,
   That now we are wond’rous blest.

He would not—could not thus mistreat them,
   He would hush their plaintive cries
The whole colony! he would greet them!
   Drying tears with Agencies.

Before a one should miss a berth
   As needs he’d make another
Till every Indian on the earth
   Should have a sep’rate “father.”

And this I think he ought to do
   ’Tis only what they merit
Where’er there’s a good on this broad earth
   “They have a right” to share it!