KAN-IL-LAK THE SINGER
by: Constance Lindsay Skinner
- AK-KU, desired!
- Thine eyes speak gifts
- But thy hands are empty.
- Thy lips draw me
- Like morning's flame on a song-bird's wing.
- I follow -- but thy kiss is denied.
- I am a hunter alone in a forest of silence.
- Under what bough
- Are the warm wings of thy kiss folded?
- Amid the scent of berries drying
- From my high roof I have seen the dusky sea
- Trip rustlingly along the sand-floors,
- In little moccasins of silver, moon-broidered with shells
- Ah, thy little moccasins, Nak-Ku!
- But thy feet recede from me like ebbing tides.
- I have closed my door:
- The heavy cedar-blanket hangs before it.
- Since thou comest not,
- Better that my narrow pine couch seem wide as a winter field.
- The moon makes silver shadows on my floor through the poplars.
- The wind rustles the leaves,
- Swaying the boughs o'er the smoke-hole;
- The little silver shadows run toward my couch--
- Ah-hi, Nak-Ku!
- I hear the pattering of women on the sand-paths:
- Fluttered laughs, bird-whisperings before my lodge--
- "Oh lover, lover!"
- Brave little fingers tap upon the cedar-blanket.
- But I do not open my door--
- Better this grief!
- I am thy poet, Nak-Ku,
- Faithful to her who has given me
- NAK-KU ANSWERS
- I have given dreams to Kan-il-Lak, the singer!
- Oh, what care I, Kan-il-Lak,
- Though thy hut be full of witches,
- Thy lips' melody flown before their kisses?
- Know I not that all women
- Must to the singer bring their gifts?
- Know I not that to the singer comes at last
- His hour of gift-judging?
- I will lie, like a moonbeam, in thy heart.
- A hundred gifts shall fall regarded not:
- But where among the dust of forgetfulness
- The one pearl shell is found--
- Pure, faint-flushed with longing,
- The deeps no man has seen
- Brimming its lyric mouth with mystical murmurs--
- There shalt thou pause
- And render me thy song!
MORE POEMS BY CONSTANCE LINDSAY SKINNER
"Kan-il-Lak the Singer"
is reprinted from Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1916.
Ed. William Stanley Braithwaite. New York: Laurence J. Gomme,