A poem by my great-grandmother, Dorothy Wallace. Written in 1912.
Lordly Saskatchewan, swift flowing river
Flowing for centuries, flowing forever.
Thou findest thy source in the far western mountains.
Thy waters rush forth from the emerald fountains.
Winding and curving and winding again
Thou spannest the breadth of the great Central Plain
The trees to the edge of thy clear waters grow.
Thus lending their tints to the river below.
Perhaps in the years that are long past and gone
By this river some Indian Chieftain was born
Thy low sounding music then fell on his ear
Oh thine was the voice which first he did hear
And all through the years of his happy childhood
By the banks of the river he played in the wood
At night when he gazed through the gauzy cloud bars
Thought of the Great Spirit who made the bright stars
Heard the rippling streamlet which whispered to him
Of his glory to gain and his battles to win.
He soon grew to manhood, a warrior bold
And his eye was as bright as his father’s of old
His aim was so true and his sight was so keen
Such a great and good chief there was never yet seen.
He rode forth to battle one calm summer day.
His spirit was fearless his heart light and gay
As light and as happy as that summer air
Which fanned his brown cheek and tossed his dark hair
They ought all day long refusing to yield
Till the great chief lay low on the wild battle field.
There fell on his ear as he lay on the ground
A faint sighing ripple a musical sound.
A song so familiar and soothing and deep
T’was the voice of the river that lulled him to sleep.
Great river oh! many a tale thou couldst tell
Of how the white man first came here to dwell,
How he built his log fort on the beautiful land,
And planted his standard aloft on the strand.
Though it floats not so light on thy waters of blue,
The steam ship replaces the birch bark canoe.
The tools of the red Man are reddened with rust.
The fort of the white man is crumbling to dust.
While high on the river banks, fair to the view
With their towers and spires the Twin Cities grew.
The river still flowing will sing its old rhyme
Thus watching forever the changes of time