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.
 
Chippewa Flute Song
By Lew R. Sarett
 
          To be chanted monotonously in a high pitch, with a downward inflection at the end of every sentence and at other places where the voice naturally falls

HAH—eeeeeeeee—oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo!
My little Pigeon-woman,
For you alone, as I float in my little birch canoe in the purple twilight,
          I am singing, I am calling
          on my little cedar lute tenderly.        5
For you alone, for you alone I am playing
          on my little yellow flute mellowly.
And though the singing of my throat is like the grumping of the frog
          at night among the water-lilies,
          yet the notes from my cedar Pee'-bo-an'        10
          are like silver bubbles in the moonlight.
Therefore why do you hide away from me like the timid little fawn
          that peers tremblingly at me
          from yonder bending willows,
My little Pigeon-woman,        15
My Kah-lee'-lee-oh'-kah-lay'-quay!
 
Hah—eeeeeeeee—oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo!
From the clouds of purple twilight on yonder shore
          the wailing loon is calling, calling,
          calling for his woman drearily.        20
And I am also calling
          on my little yellow flute wearily.
In the dewy glade of yonder valley
          the whip-poor-will is crying for his mate;
In the sombre lonely shadows of the timber        25
          the melancholy owl is also calling.
But the owl and the whip-poor-will do not hear an answer
          to their many, many callings—
Nor do I hear an answer to my melody.
The meadow-lark is fluting his golden song;        30
          and from the lilied meadows
          other golden notes come floating back to him
          like little golden bells.
And though the meadow-lark does not sing more tenderly
          than my little yellow flute,        35
          you do not answer my callings,
My little Pigeon-woman,
My Kah-lee'-lee-oh'-kah-lay'-quay!
 
Hah—eeeeeeeee—oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo!
And now the purple wings of the night are softly folded down        40
          upon my sleepy little lake,
          and the sighing silver balsams.
The cooing wood-dove has slipped her head beneath her downy wings;
          and the hermit-thrush will pipe no longer.
The eyes of the many little stars are peering down        45
          upon me from the sky steadily;
And the wan and sickly moon is smiling yellowly at me.
I do not like the many little peering eyes,
          I do not like the smiling yellow moon;
          I love the sun that dances down the sky        50
          with a swirl of scarlet robes,
          and with her head flung back over her shoulder,
          a taunting smile on her vermilion face.
 
And now the flutings of my little Pee'bo-a'n avail me no longer;
For you have flown away from me, you have flown away from me,        55
          like the sun that slipped down behind the willows
          trailing her purple veils behind her
          on the shimmering waters of my lake
          and over the edge of the world.
 
But tomorrow the sun will come back to me,        60
          the sun will come back tomorrow,
My little Pigeon-woman,
My Kah-lee'-lee-oh'-kah-lay'-quay!
 
 
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