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The Path on the Rainbow, edited by George W. Cronyn, , at sacred-texts.com
Plem-Salia-Kwi is the Hunter returning with plenty,
And the Fisher from the green sea.
His shoulders are heavy with deer's meat;
His great canoe is slow with salmon.
We listen to the nudge of its tall ghost-prow
In all our landing coves.
We hear the ground-wind of his moccasins
Rustling the forest-floors:
Swifter than joy they speed on the purple paths of the Fall—
Paths stained with fruitage, oozing odors.
He comes to us, his little brown blood-brothers by the sea:—
Through the dark silver-blue spruces, and the massed sea-green cedars,
Through the brown and crimson maples,
And the cottonwoods' dropping gold;
Through the pearl shimmer of the naked birches.
Plem-Salia-Kwi's blanket is the white, broidered, mist;
Its fringes are dew-bells
That tinkle little whispers down the mountain.
While he still slept,
Lake-Woman, Mother of Waters, wove him his blanket:
Wove it of the wool of the mist-herds
Drifting down from the cloud-ranges.
She patterned it in bead-drops, sun-colored—
A rainbow starts in the heart of each—
With blue ravelings from sky-patches,
With pink shells from the beaches of morning.
He bears the strong bent bow of the hills,
And the swift wind-arrows scarlet-shafted with dawn:
And the tall spear of falling light,
October light, the mystical weapon.
(Ah-h! Ahi! Ah-h! We sing to Kunaë
For the beauty and harvest of Plem-Salia-Kwi.)
The little children,
In laughing, leaping, running, stumbling,
Pattering and creeping down to the beaches,
Give thanks for the harvest of sweet, dried berries
And the plenty of the breast.
They go down to converse with the swallows,
Who bathe in the small leaf-locked pools.
Ak-hi! the shrill joy of the children,
At the twirring and flashing of brown wings in bright water,
And the twittering of news from all the nests of the sea-coast!
The pine-logs make a good smoke, blue, clear, sweet-smelling,
The cooking baskets bubble with water:
The women chant, while they heat stones for the baking,
Concerning the large baskets of food they have cooked,
And the racks of crimson, smoked salmon,
And the many trays of dried berries,
Sun-baked and jellied in long strips, packed in cool leaves.
They behold their men coming up from the caves
With hammers and copper, with silver and cunning shells;
And they clatter at their ears, saying:—
"Is not thy roof fragrant with cedar-trays of berries?
Have I not stored thy house full?
Hast thou not a little wayward son of thee at each of thy hands?
Is the cradle on my back—the cradle of thy despised little daughter—empty?
Where is another such wife?
Speak, O thou Hunter of Life,
That caughtest me unknowing in the pine shadows—
When I danced after Tem-Eyos-Kwi!"
The men answer not:
But in their eyes, behind their lashes, is a little smile,
Like light in the depths of a reedy pool.
Early, ere their clattering women woke,
They went down to the caves with their axes.
They have digged copper and silver and brilliant shells
From a secret store.
Tink-tonk, tink-tonk, tink-tonk!
Through the forest rings the song of their hammers.
The silent men are hammering rings for their women:
Rings, bracelets, anklets, for their women,
Glad gifts for their women, their mates.
For the silent men have seen
That Plem-Salia-Kwi walks not alone.
Through all his paths She follows him—his Woman, his Mate—
Sharing his blanket.
She has no other garment, her breast is bare,
She has given all to him she follows;
So comes he with plenty!
He tires not forever on his leagues of march,
Because her feet are set to his foot-prints,
And the gleam of her bare hand slants across his shoulder.
Therefore the silent men, the Hunters and Providers of Life,
Greet Plem-Salia-Kwi, the Harvest-Bringer, their Blood-Brother the Mated One,
With the tink-tonk, tink-tonk, tink-tonk of bright hammers,
Shaping gifts for their women:
Ringing their thanksgiving song for full joys—
Full baskets, full cradles, the full arms of sleep.
p. 208 p. 209 p. 210
Next: (A Pawnee Ceremony)