Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > The New Poetry: An Anthology
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  The New Poetry: An Anthology.  1917.
 
340. Songs of the Coast-Dwellers
 
The Chief’s Prayer after the Salmon Catch
 
By Constance Lindsay Skinner
 
 
O KIA-KUNÆ, praise!
Thou hast opened thy hand among the stars,
And sprinkled the sea with food;
The catch is great; thy children will live.
See, on the roofs of the villages, the red meat drying;        5
Another year thou hast encompassed us with life.
Praise! Praise! Kunæ!
O Father, we have waited with shut mouths,
With hearts silent, and hands quiet,
Waited the time of prayer;        10
Lest with fears we should beset thee,
And pray the unholy prayer of asking.
We waited silently; and thou gavest life.
 
Oh, praise! Praise! Praise!
 
Open the silent mouths, the shut hearts, my tribe:        15
Sing high the prayer of Thanksgiving,
The prayer He taught in the beginning to the Kwakiutl—
The good rejoicing prayer of thanks.
As the sea sings on the wet shore, when the ice thunders back,
And the blue water floats again, warm, shining, living,        20
So break thy ice-bound heart, and the cold lip’s silence—
Praise Kunæ for life, as wings up-flying, as eagles to the sun.
Praise! Praise! Praise!
 

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