Manachaban Valley the white man calls the Bow,
When ice lay blue on the ledges and the passes were
packed with snow,
I went with my brother Assiniboines ages and ages
From rock peaks gaunt and crusted the tailing
Like smoke from the pointed tepees in a camp of
Snow on the blue-green spruces and the tapering
Snow on the gray-green poplars lifting their smooth
smother of snow in the heavens where the cold
white sun shone pale,
And a hand that clung to our snowshoes, as we
broke the knee-deep trail.
down from the North came swirling the Warriors
of the Sky.
of the wild Lost Canyon their level charge came
The tall pines swayed together moaning as if
While driving in clouds above us the ice-barbed
We heard them hiss in the willows as they sank
and settled from flight,
While still the white hosts followed hiding the
sun from sight.
We gathered our buckskins about us, and leaned to
the slant of the storm,
And thought of our far-off lodges with their fires
bright and warm.
as a white owl swooping, the peril unlooked-for
And fell on that band of hunters,—the shadow
they feared to name.
was the sun in the heavens; darker the short day
were the passes about us, in a place we had thought
Lost! was the trail behind us. There in the formless
The track of our snowshoes was buried almost before
we had passed.
Heavier grew the going, more uncertain the light.
And we thought of the Silent Walker, who appears
at the edge of night,
At the side of the daring traveller with unknown
miles to go,
A shadow out of the shadows leaving no track in
The wisest shall not outwit him, nor the strongest
outreach his stride.
And those whom his gray hand touches must falter
and turn aside.
They shall not return to their lodges where their
women and children are,
camp by their own bright rivers that flow towards
the morning star.
They must tarry in that Lost Valley of the North,
which no man knows,
Where the pale Ghost Lights go trailing over the
And so we fell upon silence and were touched
with cold white sleep,—
The spell of the Shadow Walker, his eerie way
The clean snow covered our bodies. The spring wind
bringing the rain
Whispering over the ranges signalled to us in vain.
The summers returned in their season to flower
the prairie floor,
And Wawa came back to his reed-bed, but we to
our tribe no more.
So did we pass from our hunting and were lost
on that mountain trail,
flame dies down to an ash at the end of a camp-fire
Lost? And forever? Then how is it all so familiar
The sifting snow in the willows, the creak of
the snowshoe’s play,
The very bend of the river where Sundance Canyon
And the swaying pines in the smother as the sun
pales out of the skies?
Why should I cry to my senses in this nineteen-twenty-four,
As up the Manachaban Valley we swing to the stride
Breasting a glorious snow storm, “I have been