Songs from a Northern Garden

by Bliss Carman


 

KILLOOLEET


 

There's a wonderful woodland singer
In the North, called Killooleet,—
That is to say Little Sweetvoice
In the tongue of the Milicete,

The tribe of the upper Wolaastook,

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Who range that waterway 
From the blue fir hills of its sources 
To the fogs and tides of the bay.

All day long in the sunshine,
All night long through the rains,

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On the grey wet cedar barrens
And the lonely blueberry plains,

You may hear Killooleet singing, 
Hear his O sweet 
(Then a grace-note, then the full cadence), 

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Killooleet, Killooleet, Killooleet!

Whenever you dip a paddle, 
Or set a pole in the stream,
Killooleet marks the ripple,
Killooleet knows the gleam;

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Killooleet gives you welcome,
Killooleet makes you free
With the great sweet wilderness freedom
That holds over land and sea.

You may slide your birch through the alders,

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Or camp where the rapids brawl, 
The first glad forest greeting 
Will still be Killooleet's call.

Wherever you drive a tent-pin, 
Or kindle a fire at night, 

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Killooleet comes to the ridge-pole,
Killooleet answers the light.

The dark may silence the warblers;
The heavy and thunderous hush 
That comes before storm may stifle 

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The pure cool notes of the thrush;

The waning season may sober
Bobolink, bluebird, and quail; 
But Killooleet's stainless transport 
Will not diminish nor fail.

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Henceforth you shall love and fear not,
Remembering Killooleet's song
Haunting the wild waste places,
Deliberate, tranquil, and strong;

And so you shall come without cunning,

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But wise in the simpler lore, 
To the House of the Little Brothers, 
And God will open the door.