Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FATED RACE, by WILLIAM STEWARD GORDON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FATED RACE, by                
First Line: I stood on the banks of the klickitat
Last Line: Must sink beneath the flood.
Subject(s): Native Americans - Wars; Oregon; Trail Of Tears (1838-39); Native Americans - Removal

I stood on the banks of the Klickitat,
In an Indian camping ground,
Where a dusky band of Yakimas
Had pitched their tents around.

They could see the bluffs of an ancient fort
Where their fathers had bent the bow—
Where white and red had fought and bled
In the battles of long ago.

They could see the white man's furrowed fields
Where they could hunt no more,
And their hearts grew cold as the snowy peaks
That dotted the landscape o'er.

They sadly gazed on the busy road
Where once they followed the trail,
While in the twilight gleamed the spires
Of the village of Goldendale.

That night I saw them move their camp,
And ride with solemn tread
As if they were chanting a requiem
In honor of their dead.

The long line threaded the Simcoe hills
Where now they are forced to stay,
And only the dying embers showed
Where a "nation" camped that day.

Like phantoms grim were the willow shades
Where the path ran into the stream,
And I saw them cross it one by one
In the moonlight's silver gleam.

And this, said I, is an emblem true
Of all their fated race—
They are crossing the river one by one
While the white man takes their place.

Thus civilization surges on,
Nor waits for flesh and blood,
And those who cannot stem its tide
Must sink beneath the flood.

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