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The Squaw Man Analysis



Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 2

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The cow-moose comes to water, and the beaver's overbold,

The net is in the eddy of the stream;

The teepee stars the vivid sward with russet, red and gold,

And in the velvet gloom the fire's a-gleam.

The night is ripe with quiet, rich with incense of the pine;

From sanctuary lake I hear the loon;

The peaks are bright against the blue, and drenched with sunset wine,

And like a silver bubble is the moon.



Cloud-high I climbed but yesterday; a hundred miles around

I looked to see a rival fire a-gleam.

As in a crystal lens it lay, a land without a bound,

All lure, and virgin vastitude, and dream.

The great sky soared exultantly, the great earth bared its breast,

All river-veined and patterned with the pine;

The heedless hordes of caribou were streaming to the West,

A land of lustrous mystery -- and mine.



Yea, mine to frame my Odyssey: Oh, little do they know

My conquest and the kingdom that I keep!

The meadows of the musk-ox, where the laughing grasses grow,

The rivers where the careless conies leap.

Beyond the silent Circle, where white men are fierce and few,

I lord it, and I mock at man-made law;

Like a flame upon the water is my little light canoe,

And yonder in the fireglow is my squaw.



A squaw man! yes, that's what I am; sneer at me if you will.

I've gone the grilling pace that cannot last;

With bawdry, bridge and brandy -- Oh, I've drank enough to kill

A dozen such as you, but that is past.

I've swung round to my senses, found the place where I belong;

The City made a madman out of me;

But here beyond the Circle, where there's neither right or wrong,

I leap from life's straight-jacket, and I'm free.



Yet ever in the far forlorn, by trails of lone desire;

Yet ever in the dawn's white leer of hate;

Yet ever by the dripping kill, beside the drowsy fire,

There comes the fierce heart-hunger for a mate.

There comes the mad blood-clamour for a woman's clinging hand,

Love-humid eyes, the velvet of a breast;

And so I sought the Bonnet-plumes, and chose from out the band

The girl I thought the sweetest and the best.



O wistful women I have loved before my dark disgrace!

O women fair and rare in my home land!

Dear ladies, if I saw you now I'd turn away my face,

Then crawl to kiss your foot-prints in the sand!

And yet -- that day the rifle jammed -- a wounded moose at bay --

A roar, a charge . . . I faced it with my knife:

A shot from out the willow-scrub, and there the monster lay. . . .

Yes, little Laughing Eyes, you saved my life.



The man must have the woman, and we're all brutes more or less,

Since first the male ape shinned the family tree;

And yet I think I love her with a husband's tenderness,

And yet I know that she would die for me.

Oh, if I left you, Laughing Eyes, and nevermore came back,

God help you, girl! I know what you would do. . . .

I see the lake wan in the moon, and from the shadow black,

There drifts a little, empty birch canoe.



We're here beyond the Circle, where there's never wrong nor right;

We aren't spliced according to the law;

But by the gods I hail you on this hushed and holy night

As the mother of my children, and my squaw.

I see your little slender face set in the firelight glow;

I pray that I may never make it sad;

I hear you croon a baby song, all slumber-soft and low --

God bless you, little Laughing Eyes! I'm glad.






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