Emily Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Here you will find the Poem Shadow river of poet Emily Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Shadow river


A stream of tender gladness, 
Of filmy sun, and opal tinted skies; 
Of warm midsummer air that lightly lies 
In mystic rings, 
Where softly swings 
The music of a thousand wings 
That almost tones to sadness. 

Midway 'twixt earth and heaven, 
A bubble in the pearly air, I seem 
To float upon the sapphire floor, a dream 
Of clouds of snow, 
Above, below, 
Drift with my drifting, dim and slow, 
As twilight drifts to even. 

The little fern-leaf, bending 
Upon the brink, its green reflection greets, 
And kisses soft the shadow that it meets 
With touch so fine, 
The border line 
The keenest vision can't define; 
So perfect is the blending. 

The far, fir trees that cover 
The brownish hills with needles green and gold, 
The arching elms o'erhead, vinegrown and old, 
Repictured are 
Beneath me far, 
Where not a ripple moves to mar 
Shades underneath, or over. 

Mine is the undertone; 
The beauty, strength, and power of the land 
Will never stir or bend at my command; 
But all the shade 
Is marred or made, 
If I but dip my paddle blade; 
And it is mine alone. 

O! pathless world of seeming! 
O! pathless life of mine whose deep ideal 
Is more my own than ever was the real. 
For others Fame 
And Love's red flame, 
And yellow gold: I only claim 
The shadows and the dreaming.