Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Smoke Prayer
By Frank S. Gordon
 
From “Gold in the Desert”

In the Land of the Dacotahs
The voice of a youth crying,
As it were a thin blue smoke
Ascending:
    Great Mystery,        5
    Do thou partake of this food
    And still be gracious;
    Make it unto me sinew of flesh,
    Sinew of arm and the strong heart!
    Thou who paintest the mountains black—        10
    Behold, they stand as flint;
    Thou who singest to the four winds—
    And lo, they dancing, sing:
    Partake of this food and be thou gracious!
    O great sheet of blue sky,        15
    See me standing here,
    Hear me crying here!
    I have heard the voice of my fathers,
    I have recited the deeds of my fathers,
    I have done the commands of my fathers—        20
    Be thou gracious,
    Unto me give the heart of my fathers!
    My limbs—they are the deer’s—
    I have not smoked the fragrant plant;
    My limbs—they are the brown deer’s—        25
    I have not eaten the broth of weakness;
    My limbs—they are the fleet brown deer’s—
    I have not sung the love song.
    O thou holy and great Mystery,
    Be thou gracious!—        30
    Give unto me the heart of flint—
    I have spoken with the straight tongue;
    Give unto me the heart of deer—
    I have spoken with my timber brothers;
    Give unto me the heart of flowers—        35
    I have spoken with the sprig of sage.
    Thou who hidest the nest of the moon,
    Give unto me the heart of eagle:
    That my people may find me filled
    In my days of fasting;        40
    That my enemy find me valiant
    In my days of combat;
    That thou find me reverent
    Before the east wind,
    Before the south wind,        45
    Before thee, O sheet of blue sky.
    Behold, I stand,
    My face uplifted,
    My hands up-raised,
    My soul in nakedness before thee!        50
 
As it were a smoke ascending.
 
 
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