Lake Lyrics and Other Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

CRAGS*


 

GAUNT, huge, misshapen, ’neath the northern light,
    These wild lake crags loom black against the sky,
    While at their feet the restless waters sigh
And beat and moan amid the fitful light.
Here no life comes or takes its shadowy flight, 
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    No voice save winds that shoreward faint and die;
    But ever through their weird rifts tow’ring high,
The moon with ray of gold the lake doth smite.

Men call them warrior-souls to adamant turned
Doomed through these thousand years that since have burned,

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    To guard the prisoned souls that wander here; 
So, dead to hate and waste, the centuries’ storms,
True to their trust, they lift their awful forms,
    And keep these passes bleak, these regions drear.
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* Among the Ojibway nations there is a legend that the lime-stone crag-cliffs on the shores of the great American lakes, are Indian warriors eternally fixed in stone by Nana Boza (Hiawatha) to keep guard over the spirits of bad Indians who are doomed to roam for ever these desolate wilds. [back]