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.
 
Sa-a Naraï
By Frank S. Gordon
 
From “Along the South Star Trail”
Tribal Songs from the South-west

SO I heard it commanded,
On the edge of the mesa,
By the sitter on the mesa,
In the season of falling leaves:
 
  Count thou, my son, the lights on South Star Trail;
Sa-a Naraï
        5
  Trust not time nor strength—they are twin liars;
Sa-a Naraï
  On track of birth-dance the mourners wail—
Sa-a Naraï
  The Tribe moves on—count thou the fires.
Sa-a Naraï
  Beads, a few in falling rain; grains in desert sand;
Sa-a Naraï
  The door of night swings wide—it will not close.
Sa-a Naraï
        10
  Still room for beads, dying hills for land;
Sa-a Naraï
  The door is open—the Soul Trail glows.
Sa-a Naraï
  I counted my sheep but not the bones;
Sa-a Naraï
  A woman vows and goes her way;
Sa-a Naraï
  Dust-wedded wealth—the desert owns—
Sa-a Naraï
        15
  Tomorrow smiles, while sad is yesterday.
Sa-a Naraï
  Feast on wit and beauty—pendants of bone—
Sa-a Naraï
  The eye-strings tie two souls today.
Sa-a Naraï
  Fill the earthen bowl—fill jar of stone—
Sa-a Naraï
  Tomorrow the empty socket fill with clay.
Sa-a Naraï
        20
  There weaves a frost-chain, bends a flower:
Sa-a Naraï
  Youth blooms fresh—spring has not gone;
Sa-a Naraï
  Winter gathers, gathers fruit of spring shower;
Sa-a Naraï
  The frost-chain shakes—a soul moves on.
Sa-a Naraï
  I saw a cripple, I saw a thief.
Sa-a Naraï
        25
  Go, hoe your corn with shoulder-blade of deer
Sa-a Naraï
  Where blows a wind, there stirs a leaf;
Sa-a Naraï
  A bone enghosts a hoe—greed your spear.
Sa-a Naraï
  If Red Moccasin moans, who knows the way?
Sa-a Naraï
  I am ashamed before that standing within me—
Sa-a Naraï
        30
  The spirit upward flies—it will not stay;
Sa-a Naraï
  Follow soon, thou must, the Voice within thee.
Sa-a Naraï
  Shagwakwa laughs—in black night sings—
Sa-a Naraï
  Give me my mother’s bones—unto me, dreams!
Sa-a Naraï
  A puff to the gods whither blue smoke wings—
Sa-a Naraï
        35
  Smoke now with me—soon the yellow line gleams.
Sa-a Naraï
  Eat thy mother’s flesh—she is the corn:
Sa-a Naraï
  Is there a stranger who is not thy brother?
Sa-a Naraï
  The One Above sung life—lo, love was born!
Sa-a Naraï
  Hast shared the gift of thy first mother?
Sa-a Naraï
        40
  A little puff—a little kernel—
Sa-a Naraï
  The Tribe moves on—it will not stay.
Sa-a Naraï
  A little play by the trail eternal—
Sa-a Naraï
  A little puff—lo, the South Star Way …..
 
So I heard it chanted.        45
 
 
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