The Ute Lover
BENEATH the burning brazen sky,
The yellowed tepees stand.
Not far away a singing river
Sets through the sand.
Within the shadow of a lonely elm tree
The tired ponies keep.
The wild land, throbbing with the sun’s hot magic,
Is rapt as sleep.
From out a clump of scanty willows
A low wail floats,—
The endless repetition of a lover’s
So sad, so sweet, so elemental,
All lovers’ pain
Seems borne upon its sobbing cadence,—
The love-song of the plain.
From frenzied cry forever falling,
To the wind’s wild moan,
It seems the voice of anguish calling
Caught from the winds forever moaning
On the plain,
Wrought from the agonies of woman
In maternal pain,
It holds within its simple measure
All death of joy,
Breathed though it be by smiling maiden
Or lithe brown boy.
It hath this magic, sad though its cadence
And short refrain—
It helps the exiled people of the mountain
Endure the plain;
For when at night the stars a-glitter
Defy the moon,
The maiden listens, leans to seek her lover
Where waters croon.
Flute on, O lithe and tuneful Utah,—
Reply, brown jade;
There are no other joys secure to either
Man or maid.
Soon you are old and heavy-hearted,
Lost to mirth;
While on you lies the white man’s gory
Greed of earth.
Strange that to me that burning desert
Seems so dear.
The endless sky and lonely mesa,
Flat and drear,
Calls me, calls me as the flute of Utah
Calls his mate,—
This wild, sad, sunny, brazen country,
Hot as hate.
Again the glittering sky uplifts star-blazing;
Again the stream
From out the far-off snowy mountains
Sings through my dream;
And on the air I hear the flute-voice calling
The lover’s croon,
And see the listening, longing maiden
Lit by the moon