American Indian Poetry (Twayne's United States authors by Helen Addison Howard

By Helen Addison Howard

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Extra info for American Indian Poetry (Twayne's United States authors series ; TUSAS 334)

Example text

And whence, think ye, was borne Unto these men courage to dare, Strength to endure hardship and war? Mark well my words, as I reveal How the gods help man's feebleness. The Leader of these warriors was a man Given to prayer. Oft he went forth Seeking a place no one could find. There would he stand, and lift his voice Fraught with desire, that he might be Invincible, a bulwark 'gainst all foes Threat'ning his tribe, causing them fear. Nighttime and day this cry sped on, Traveling far, seeking to reach— Harken!

The songs "were sung [by a medicine man] to cure [a patient of] an injury caused by a fractious horse. "20 The Papago respected animals as superior beings who were better adapted to their environment than man. Animals gave power (to people), but they also sent disease to humans who wantonly killed animals when they didn't need food. The Papago believed that by describing a desired event in magical, beautiful speech, they could make that event take place. Hence a specialist who sang the correct magical healing song could cure a patient.

On the formal side, three factors are outstanding in Indian verse: a. Brilliant execution of other repetitional forms instead of a general use of rhyme as an aid to rhythm. b. Extensive use of sense imagery and the imagery of comparison. c. Extreme economy of expression. 2. Minor qualities of Indian verse are humor, pathos, satire. The predominantly intellectual quality is largely lacking. 3. The characteristic qualities are imaginative, aesthetic and emotional in type. Their aspects are concreteness, rhythm, beauty, compactness, sincerity.

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