Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MEDICINE MAN, by CHARLES BADGER CLARK JR.



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THE MEDICINE MAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The trail is long to the bison herd
Last Line: But none dared touch the medicine man.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clark, Badger
Subject(s): Cowboys


"The trail is long to the bison herd,
The prairie rotten with rain,
And look! the wings of the thunder bird
Blacken the hills again.
A medicine man the gods may balk—
Go fight for us with the thunder hawk!"

The medicine man flung out his arms.
"I am weary of woman talk
And cook-fire witching and childish charms!
I fight you the thunder hawk!"
Then he took his arrows and climbed the butte
While the warriors watched him, scared and mute.

A wind from the wings began to blow
And the arrows of rain to shoot,
As the medicine man raised high his bow,
Standing alone on the butte,
And the day went dark to the cowering band
As the arrow leaped from his steady hand.

For the thunder hawk swooped down to fight
And who in his way could stand?
The flash of his eye was blinding bright
And his wing-clap stunned the land.
The braves yelled terror and loosed the rain
And scattered far on the drowning plain.

So, after the thunder hawk swept by,
They found him, scorched and slain,
Yet (fighting with gods, who fears to die?)
He smiled with a light disdain.
That smile was glory to all his clan
But none dared touch the medicine man.





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