Saturday, January 11, 2014

POETRY BREAK #17: "To My Dog,'Quien Sabe'" by HENRY HERBERT KNIBBS, 1920

Albie's Note: Henry Herbert Knibbs [1874 - 1945] was born in Clifton (Niagara Falls), Ontario, Canada to affluent American parents.  He moved to California in 1901 where he wrote his first Novel, Lost Farm Camp. Most of Knibbs' novels are set in the West and in revolutionary Mexico.
Knibbs' poetry books include, First Poems, 1908 ~ Songs of the Outlands, Ballads of the Hoboes and Other Verse, 1914 ~ Riders of the Stars: A Book of Western Verse, 1916 ~ Songs of the Trail, 1920 ~ Saddle Songs and Other Verse, 1922 ~ and Songs of the Lost Frontier 1930. He also authored 13 western novels and many articles.  This is a classic "Dog Poem" that first appeared in the Songs of the Trail  volume.  Enjoy.
(In the Happy Hunting Grounds)
by Henry Herbert Knibbs

Did the phantom hills seem strange, Quien,
When you left the light for the ghostly land?
Do you dream of the open range, Quien,
The tang of sage and the sun-warmed sand?

Does your great heart yearn for the sweep of space,
The desert dawn and the sunset glow,
When we had no care, nor a dwelling-place,
In the lonely land we used to know?

Do you dream of those outland days, Quien,
The fierce, white noon and the pinion~ shade?
The luck we shared on the ways, Quien,
Young and lusty and unafraid?

Comrade, keen for the hunt and kill;
Comrade, patient and strong and wise,
The firelight flares--and I see you still,
Calling me with your wistful eyes.

You cannot know that I cannot come --
My work is here for a while -- and then ...
My heart cries out, though my lips are dumb,
And my hands are chained to the wheel, Quien.

Yet I am glad that your soul is free
To run the trails of our old delight:
Only -- I ask that you wait for me,
And you will know, be it day or night,

Know, and leap at my call, Quien,
And forever pace with pony's stride,
And never a start shall fall, Quien,
And never again our trails divide!


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