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Carman, Bliss, (1861-1929)
The Truce Of The Manitou
Here in the cloudless Northern summer the Beaverfoot range
   lies out in the blue
Brooding and silent, o'er each new-comer its old enchantments
   are cast anew.

He sees in the great plain far below him lake and river in
   silver lie,
The winds from the valley lift to blow him chants of the ages
   passing by.

Voices mysterious wild and haunting speak today as they spoke
   of old,
To the humble in heart and the mind unvaunting is the mes-
   sage brought and the secret told.
The Indian lad through lonely hours here watched and fasted
   to prove his worth,
Till there appeared to his quickened powers one of the guides
   of the tribes of earth.

Well he knew that the lower creatures who walk or swim or
   voyage the air,
Whatever their likeness of form or features, gull, crow, caribou,
   seal or bear,

After their kind have each its Master, its guiding Spirit, its
   tribal Soul,
To save from panic and self-disaster, to temper with reason
   and self-control.

Who drills the ducks in late September, in floating line or on
   whistling wing?
Who bids the slumbering bear remember?  Who guides the run
   of the salmon in spring?

Who teaches the hawk the wondrous curving that build his
   spirals against the sun?
Who steers the flock of sea-snipe swerving to dart and dip and
   flash as one?

Who but a great and brooding being, taking at will the image
   of man,
Endowed with memory and foreseeing, the Thought of God
   for his feckless clan!

The youth has climbed to his lonely station, the rite is per-
   formed, the vigil set,
The solemn hours of expectation pass,--never one that he will
   forget.

The sun is gone, and the gold-tipped ranges are turned to
   mauve and purple and blue.
The dusk comes on, and twilight changes to silence and stars.
   The word comes through.

He sees in the dark between the boulders wondering eyes that
   glow and stare,
The great horned heads and thrusting shoulders of a herd of
   moose that are watching there.

Then a luminous Presence tall and splendid, in freedom of
   beauty and strength of days,
Took form and spoke,--as doubt was ended,--searching the
   lad with level gaze:

"Fear not, my son, what lies before thee.  I bring thee word
   from the moose thy kin.
The door of their lodge is open for thee; be of good heart and
   enter in.

"From near and far they are come to know thee,--the mightiest
   bulls of many a herd,--
To witness the Manitou's truce and show thee they too are
   bound by the uttered word.

"To these in loyalty and compassion shall thy protection and
   love be shown,
And they in their simple strength and fashion shall return thee
   caring like thine own.

"Little have they of understanding, being but folk of the Dawn-
   ing Mind,
Yet to the Will of the All-commanding in goodness of heart
   they are not blind.

"Toward them thou shalt brook no hurt nor treason; they are
   thy brothers from this day forth.
With them thou shalt share the Lesser Reason and be given the
   Knowledge of all the North.

"I will be with thee in all thy goings, waking and sleeping by
   day or night,
With the rain on its march and the wind in its blowings.  Thy
   kinsman the moose will lend thee might.

"Thou shalt have eyes where others see not, a heart for the
   trail where others faint.
Ill-willed nor wanton thou shalt be not, keeping thy senses
   clean of taint.

"In thine hour of peril when none is near thee, when evil
   threatens and help is far,
Call on thy brothers and they shall hear thee and aid on the
   instant wherever they are.

"The Darkness has lightened.  The Silence has spoken.  Go, and
   forget not and be strong."
The vision faded, the spell was broken.  And the youth who
   had pondered long and long

Arose and went down where the valley waited and the thin
   blue morning smoke upcurled
From the silent lodges, with heart elated; a splendor lay over all
   his world.
Public Domain