Delanceyplace.com 01/31/07-Jane Johnstone Schoolcraft
In today's excerpt, Jane Johnstone Schoolcraft, the first known American Indian literary writer, whose literature became a key source for Longfellow's sensationally popular The Song of Hiawatha. Her Ojibwe name meant "Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky." The following is excerpted from her poem Song for a Lover Killed in Battle:
Oh how can I sing the praise of my love! His spirit still lingers around me. The grass that is growing over his bed of earth is yet too low; its sighs cannot be heard upon the wind.
Oh he was beautiful!
Oh he was brave!
I must not break the silence of this still retreat; nor waste the time in song, when his spirit still whispers to mine. I hear it in the sounds of the newly budded leaves. It tells me that he yet lingers near me, and that he loves me the same in death, though the yellow sand lies over him.
Whisper to me.
I shall sing when the grass will answer my plaint; when its sighs will respond to my moan. There my voice shall be heard in his praise.
Linger, lover! linger
Stay, spirit! stay.
Robert Dale Parker, The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky, University of Pennsylvania, 2007, p. 205.