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About this Poem 

“Songs of the Spavinaw” was published in University of Oklahoma Magazine in 1920.

Songs of the Spavinaw

I am the river of Spavinaw,
     I am the river of pain;
Sadness and gladness must answer my law;
Measure for measure I give, and withdraw
Back through the hills of the Spavinaw,
     Hiding away from the plain.

I am the river of Spavinaw;
     I sing the songs of the world;
Dashing and whirling, swishing and swirling,
Delicate, mystical, silvery spray hurling,
     Sing I the songs of the world,
     The passionate songs of the world.

I sing of laughter and mirth,
     And I laugh in a gurgle of glee
As the myriad joys of the earth
     Trip through the light with me.
Gay shallows dimple, sparkle and ripple.
     Like songs that a lover would sing,
        Skipping in moonlight,
        Tripping in moonlight,
     Whispering echoes of spring.

And again
     I move with the slow sadness of pain.
In my dark blue deep, where the shadows creep,
     I catch up life’s sorrows and mirror them back again.
And my song is a throbbing, pitiful sobbing,
     Choked by an agonized pain.

And then
     I move forth toward the beckoning north,
        And I sing of the power of men.
            As I dash down my falls,
            As I beat at my walls
Frantically fighting, running and righting,
All through the flood, through the snarling and biting,
        I sing of the power of men,
        Of the hurry and power of men.

        I am the river of Spavinaw,
        I am the giver of pain;
Sadness and gladness must answer my law;
Measure for measure I give, and withdraw
Back through the hills of the Spavinaw,
        Hiding away from the plain.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Ruth Muskrat Bronson

Ruth Muskrat Bronson

Ruth Muskrat Bronson, also known as Ruth Margaret Muskrat, was born on October 3, 1897, in the Delaware Nation Reservation.