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.
 
Chief Capilano Greets His Namesake at Dawn
By Constance Lindsay Skinner
 
WHITE Head of Waters, White Head of Light—
Capilano; Cla’h’ya. 1
White head of the Chief to thee lifts greeting.
I am hoar with years as thou, great Father;
My hair hangs like the dropping ice        5
Of thy highest hushed waters.
I have lived a hundred years at thy foot,
Singing the prayer of thanks for life:
“O Kia-Kunë, Great Spirit One, Great Kind One,
I praise thee for life, I serve thee with living,        10
I bless thee that in kindness thou hast made the earth
And with love covered it.
Yea, by thy kindness, men and trees stand forth;
Silently, to me, speak they the speech of brothers.
For delights the little rivers come among the hills,        15
Shining with the smiles of women;
Ay, as the merry murmuring of many maidens
Are the rivers; swift and tender in their coming.
(Because thou art Kind, Kunë, thou madest women.)
It is the morn, Kunë, I pray, I praise thee.”        20
Ah!—how many hundred years hast thou prayed thus, Capilano?
With thee this day, Mountain-Father, I thank Kunë for another dawn.
I am girt with blanket and rope of cedar-fibre;
In my ear is a ring of fine bark.
Thou art belted with innumerable pine-trees;        25
To thee they are smaller than feathers.
The sun is the cedar-ring in thine ear,
The long sea asleep is the spear in thy hand.
It is still, with pale lights on the distant blade,
Pointing at rest to islands beyond the dropping sky.        30
Thou art come forth, as a hunter, to the dawn,
Herding the antlered shadows down the forest slope.
Their swift fleeing hoofs strike fire from the beaten sandshores of morning,
 
  And the black wraiths swoon upon the bright opening sea.
With blood of his proud throat crimsoning the eastern sky        35
The great Stag of the Dark in the van falls dying.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
Here was I chief ere the coming of the white man;
Now is his village spread from this sea beyond my sight.
His canoes are floating villages;
They go by with a great noise and a black smoke.        40
His deeds are mighty; they leap with roaring clouds and thunder-fires
Into the blue quiet morning and the white moon-sky.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
  Yet have I heard no sound mightier
Than the sun shattering the night
On thy stone shoulder, Capilano.        45
Yet have I seen no sight more wonderful and fair
Than the coming of the light,
When Day, the silver-winged gull, down-swooping finds the sea.
Yet have I known no thing sweeter, stronger,
Than the smell of piney winds and blue rippling sea-water,        50
And the kindness of Kunë-Kia, the living One,
Waking the heart of the old chief
To another dawn of life.
 
Note 1. Capilano, White Head of Waters, meaning dome-shaped, also containing sense of light: the highest white-capped mountain on Vancouver’s harbor, B. C.; name of the aged chief of the tribe inhabiting the village at its foot. Cla’h’ya is a phrase of greeting. [back]
 
 
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