The Indians by Evelyn M. Watson

watson indians

watson indians
Captain Webb’s Indian Bazaar (located between the current Oakes Garden Theatre and the Rainbow Bridge). Photo courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library

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.

Click to see more poems from Watson’s Poems of the Niagara Frontier

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