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The Collected Poems of Dora Sigerson Shorter/The Kine of My Father

THE KINE OF MY FATHER

The kine of my father, they are straying from my keeping;
The young goat's at mischief, but little can I do
For all through the night did I hear the banshee keening;
youth of my loving, and is it well with you?

All through the night sat my mother with my sorrow;
“Whisht, it is the storm, O one children of my heart!”
My hair with the wind, and my two hands clasped in anguish;
Black head of my darling ! too long are we apart.

Were your grave at my feet, I would think it half a blessing;
I could herd then the cattle, and drive the goats away;
Many a Paternoster I would say for your safe keeping;
I could sleep above your heart until the dawn of day.

I see you on the prairie, hot with thirst and faint with hunger;
The head that I love lying low upon the sand.
The vultures shriek impatient, and the coyote dogs are howling,
Till the blood is pulsing cold within your clenching hand.

I see you on the voters, so white, so still, forsaken,
Your dear eyes unclosing beneath a foreign rain:
A plaything of the winds, you turn and dritt unceasing.
No grave for your resting; O mine the bitter pain!


All through the night did I hear the banshee keening:
Somewhere you are dying, and nothing can I do;
My hair with the wind, and my two hands clasped in anguish;
Bitter is your trouble—and I am far from you.