The River

The Kiote May 1901

The River


A silent river creeping down

Out of a wide and silent land;

Shelving banks and bluffs that frown,

Half-clay – half hid by wire-grass brown

And reaches of level bottom land

Where thickets of plum and willow stand

With a ragged grove for a border line,

Where, hid in tangles of weed and vine,

The blackened bones and charred stumps show

How the breath of the fire-scourge used to blow

When he leaped the river long ago.


A shallow river – it thinly creeps

In drouth, through yellow sand-bars dry,

When August passes without a cloud;

A yellow current, it swirls and sweeps

In flood, and piles the weed-drift high

When the blare of the rushing storm is loud,

When the black cloud rent with jagged gleans

Stoops to the hills and deep ravines.


Edwin Piper

The Kiote, May 1901