Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A YOUNG CHIEF RETURNS, by ELEANOR G. R. YOUNG



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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A YOUNG CHIEF RETURNS, by            
First Line: I have returned unto my ancient mesa
Last Line: "I am home!"
Subject(s): Homecoming; Native Americans; Travel; Indians Of America; American Indians; Indians Of South America; Journeys; Trips


I have returned unto my ancient mesa.
Oh, Sun, pour down your golden warmth upon me;
Oh, Rain, caress my burning eager face,—
At last, I have come Home!
After sojourning in the White Man's cities,
After delving into his store of knowledge,
I have, at last, come Home!

Night after night, shut in a boxlike room,
I have heard the wind sweep through this narrow canyon;
Heard the slim birches bend their silvery heads
Like fluttering music brushing through the air;
Heard the coyote give his lonely call
And closed my eyes upon the scene before me—
The narrow bed, the scarred oak bureau,
The old slat-rocker in the eastern window,
The student lamp upon the table,
The pile of dog-eared books lying beside it—
(Books that contained the White Man's way of learning)
Closed my eyes on them all,
And looked once more
Upon this ancient land—
My people's heritage!
What have I learned in books?
Have I learned how the eagle builds her nest
And soars with fearless freedom out of sight?
Have I learned how to reach my peoples' heart
And lift from it the shame of vanished hopes?

Oh, I will rest tonight beneath the stars:
I cannot go unto my people yet
Full of the White Man's customs;
I cannot take them words to comfort them.

After the stars
Have shone on me all night
And washed my heart of all its pettiness,
I can fling wide my arms
Unto my people.
Then they will know
I have returned to them,
Bringing the best of all that I have learned
To share with them;
Leaving behind the things we cannot use
And bearing in my heart a ringing song—
"I have returned, my people,
I am Home!"




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