Dec 3, 2019
December 3rd, Tuesday | Hiatus Week: Legend of the Indian Summer
Hiatus Week Day 2: A belated autumnal poem to explain the Indian Summer phenomenon.
The date is December 3rd, Tuesday, and today I’m coming to you from Auckland, New Zealand.
This week I’ll be on hiatus, check out Monday’s episode, December 2nd for the whole scoop!
Legend of The Indian Summer
I have learned a simple legend,
Never found in books of lore,
Copied not from old tradition,
Nor from classics read of yore ;
But the breezes sang it to me
With a low and soft refrain,
While the golden leaves and scarlet
Fluttered down to catch the strain.
And the grand old trees above me,
As their stately branches swayed,
Threw across my couch of crimson
More of sunlight than of shade.
I had lain there dreaming, musing
On the summer's vanished bloom,
Wondering if each penciled leaflet
Did not mark some flow'ret's tomb ;
Thinking how each tree could tell me
Many a tale of warrior's fame;
Gazing at the sky, and asking
How the ''Indian Summer' came.
Then methought a whispered cadence
Stole from out the haunted trees,
While the leaves kept dropping, dropping,
To the music of the breeze.
“I will tell thee,” said the whisper,
“What I've learned from Nature's book;
For the sunbeams wrote this legend
On the margin of a brook.
“'Tis about an Indian maiden,
She the star-flower of her race,
With a heart whose soft emotions
Rippled through her soul-lit face.
“All her tribe did homage to her,
For her father was their chief;
He was stern, and she forgiving,—
He brought pain, and she relief.
“And they called him 'Indian Winter,'
All his actions were so cold ;
Her they named the 'Indian Summer,'
For she seemed a thread of gold
“Flashing through her native forest,
Beaming in the wigwam lone,
Singing to the birds, her playmates,
Till they warbled back her tone.
“When the summer days were ended,
And the chilling months drew near,
When the clouds hung, dull and leaden,
And the leaves fell, brown and sere,
“Brought they to the chieftain's presence
One, a ‘pale-face,’ young and brave,
But whom youth nor manly valor
Could from savage vengeance save.
“‘Bring him forth!’ in tones of thunder
Thus the 'Indian Winter' cried,
While the gentle ' Indian Summer'
Softly flitted to his side.
'When the tomahawk was lifted,
And the scalping-knife gleamed high,
Pride, revenge, and bloody hatred
Glared within the warrior's eye;
'And the frown upon his forehead
Darker, deeper, sterner grew ;
While the lowering clouds above them
Hid the face of heaven from view.
''Spare him ! oh, my father, spare him!'
Friend and foe were thrust apart,
While the golden thread of sunlight
Twined around the red man's heart.
'And her eye was full of pity,
And her voice was full of love,
As she told him of the wigwam
On the hunting-ground above,
'Where great Manito was talking,—
She could hear him in the breeze ;
How he called the ' pale-face' brother—
Smoked with him the pipe of peace.
'Then the warrior's heart relented,
And the glittering weapon fell:
For the maiden's sake,' he muttered,
'Thou art pardoned,— fare thee well!'
' And the sun, that would have slumbered
Till the spring-time came again,
Earthward from his garnered brightness
Threw a flood of golden rain;
'And the 'Indian Summer' saw it,
She, the gentle forest child ;
And to ' Indian Winter' whispered,
See how Manito has smiled !'
'All the tribe received the omen,
And they called it by her name:
Indian Summer, Indian Summer,
It will ever be the same.
'Though the ' pale-face' gave another
To the lovely maid he won,
Nature still receives her tribute
From the wigwam of the sun.
' Here, alone, this shining symbol
Gilds the streamlet, warms the sod,
For no Indian Summer cometh
Save where Indian feet have trod.'
Thank you for listening. I’m your host, Virginia Combs, wishing you a good morning, a better day, and a lovely evening.