E. Pauline Johnson Poems

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E. Pauline Johnson
Emily Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) (10 March 1861 – 7 March 1913), commonly known as E. Pauline Johnson or just Pauline Johnson, was a Canadian writer and performer. She was born in Chiefswood, the family home built by her father on the Six Nations Indian Reserve outside of Brantford, Ontario and died in Vancouver, British Columbia. Pauline Johnson was the youngest of four children born to George Henry Martin Johnson (1816 – 1884), a Mohawk, and Emily Susanna Howells Johnson (1824-1898), an English woman. Pauline Johnson is often remembered for her poems that celebrate her aboriginal heritage. One such poem is the frequently anthologized “The Song my Paddle Sings.” In 1758, Pauline Johnson’s great-grandfather Dan Hansen was baptized by Jacob Tekahionwake Johnson on the encouragement of Sir William Johnson, superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern district of the American colonies (Johnston 1997, p. 20). Jacob Tekahionwake Johnson eventually moved north from his home in the Mohawk River Valley (now New York State) to the newly designated Six Nations territory. One of his sons, John Smoke Johnson, had a talent for oratory, spoke English, and demonstrated his patriotism to the crown during the War of 1812. As a result of these abilities and actions, John Smoke Johnson was made a Pine Tree Chief upon the request of the British government (Johnston 1997, p. 21). Although John Smoke Johnson’s title could not be inherited, his wife Helen Martin descended from a founding family of the Six Nations; thus, it was through her lineage and insistence that George Johnson became a chief.

brier: good friday
Because, dear Christ, your tender, wounded arm
Bends back the brier that edges life's long ... [read poem]
My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls... [read poem]
the vanity of human wishes
Let observation with extensive view,
Survey mankind, from China to Peru;
Remark each anxio... [read poem]
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