Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
Our Mother Pocahontas
By Vachel Lindsay
From “For America at War”

        Pocahontas’ body, lovely at a poplar, sweet as a red haw in November or a pawpaw in May—did she wonder? does she remember—in the dust—in the cool tombs?
Carl Sandburg      
POWHATAN was conqueror,
Powhatan was emperor.
He was akin to wolf and bee,
Brother of the hickory tree;
Son of the red lightning stroke        5
And the lightning-shivered oak.
His panther-grace bloomed in the maid
Who laughed among the winds, and played
In excellence of savage pride,
Wooing the forest, open-eyed,        10
In the springtime,
In Virginia,
Our mother, Pocahontas.
Her skin was rosy copper-red,
And high she held her beauteous head.        15
Her step was like a rustling leaf,
Her heart a nest untouched of grief.
She dreamed of sons like Powhatan,
And through her blood the lightning ran.
Love-cries with the birds she sung,        20
And bird-like in the ivy swung.
The Forest, arching low and wide
Gloried in its Indian bride.
Rolfe, that dim adventurer,
Had not come a courtier.        25
John Rolfe is not our ancestor—
We rise from out the soul of her
Held in native wonderland
While the sun’s rays kissed her hand,
In the springtime,        30
In Virginia,
Our mother, Pocahontas.
She heard the forest talking,
Across the sea came walking,
And traced the paths of Daniel Boone,        35
Then westward chased the painted moon.
She passed with wild young feet
On to Kansas wheat,
On to the miners’ west,
The echoing cañon’s guest;        40
Then the Pacific sand,
The midnight land …
On Adams street and Jefferson—        45
Flames coming up from the ground!
On Jackson street and Washington—
Flames coming up from the ground!
And why, until the dawning sun
Are flames coming up from the ground?        50
Because, through drowsy Springfield sped
This red-skin queen, with feathered head,
With winds and stars that pay her court,
And leaping beasts that make her sport;
Because gray Europe’s rags august        55
She tramples in the dust;
Because we are her fields of corn;
Because our fires are all reborn
From her bosom’s deathless embers,
Flaming as she remembers        60
The springtime
And Virginia,
Our mother, Pocahontas.
We here renounce our Saxon blood.
Tomorrow’s hopes, an April flood,        65
Come roaring in. The newest race
Is born of her resilient grace.
We here renounce our Teuton pride,
Our Norse and Slavic boasts have died,
Italian dreams are swept away,        70
And Celtic feuds are lost today …
She sings of lilacs, maples, wheat;
Her own soil sings beneath her feet,
Of springtime
And Virginia,        75
Our mother, Pocahontas.

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