Saturday, September 6, 2008

Longfellow and Ojibwa

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ojibwa Wigwam in the late 1800's

The Ojibwa peoples lived in the area of Lake Superior (Gitchee Gumee), and actually they still live there.

Longfellow wrote a lot more than the excerpt here, but this is the one you hear about.

I thought I would continue this line of thinking for one more day.

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes.
Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
"Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
"Ewa-yea! my little owlet!
Who is this, that lights the wigwam?
With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
Ewa-yea! my little owlet!"

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