A poem by Henry Kendall

Shades of my father, the hour is approaching.
Prepare ye the ‘cava’ for ‘Yona’ on high;
Make ready the welcome, ye souls of Arrochin.
The Death God of Tanna speaks Yona must die.

No more will he traverse the flame sheeted mountain,
To lead forth his brothers to hunting and war;
No more will he drink from the time honoured fountain,
Nor rise in the councils of Uking-a-shaa.

His voice in the battle, loud thunder resembling,
Has died like a zephyr o’errunning the plain;
His whoop like the tempest thro’ forest trees trembling,
Shall never strike foemen with terror again.

The ‘muska’ hung up on the cocoa is sleeping,
And Attanam’s spirits have gathered a-nigh
To see their destroyer; and, wailing and weeping,
Roll past on the night-breathing winds of the sky.

The lines are suspended, the ‘muttow’ is broken,
The canoe’s far away from the water-wash’d shore,
Mourn, mourn, ye ‘whyeenas’, the word has been spoken,
The chieftain can bring ye the ‘weepan’ no more.

Ye cloud-seated visions, ye shades of my fathers,
Awake from your slumbers, the trumpet blast blow;
The moments are flying, the mountain mist gathers,
And Yona is leaving his camp fire below.

. . . . .

The struggles are over, the cords are asunder,
Ye Phantoms hold forward your heavenly light,
Speak on the wings of the sky-shaking thunder,
And fill him with joy on the path of his flight.

Come downwards a space thro’ the fogs till ye meet him,
Throw open the doors of Arrochin awide,
And stand on the thresholds, ye Shadows to greet him
The glory of Tanna, the Uking’shaa’s pride.

Thanks, spirits departed! heard I not your voices
Faint rolling along on the breath of the gale?
Thanks, spirits departed! Le-en-na rejoices:
Ye’ve answered the mourner ye’ve silenced the wail.

The midnight is clearing; the Death-song is ended.
The Chieftain has gone, but ye’ve called him away;
For he smiled as he listened, obedient ascended,
The voice in his ear, and the torch on his way.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Tanna' by Henry Kendall

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy