How can you come to boldly gape
At some red mother, in cowling cape
Who sews stiff beads on stiffer pillows —
“Souvenirs” — but here are willows,
And here the trails and paths of their feet
In regal days found sweet.
That small papoose with wrinkled chin
Now gravely offers — a moccasin,
And there a princess, with features weathered,
Wears weeds — oh, once an arrow feathered
She flashed — or rather some ancestress
In doe-skin, festal dress.
But if they offer beads, then buy,
Theirs this ancient forestry —
Theirs the windy sun-steeped willows
With roots beneath the pouring billows —
Theirs a grim regality
Chiding, chiding me.
Source: Evelyn M. Watson. Poems of the Niagara Frontier. New York: Dean & Company, 1929.