E. Pauline Johnson

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Beach

“Sounds of the seas grow fainter, 
Sounds of the sands have sped;
The sweep of gales,
The far white sails,
Are silent, spent and dead.”

E. Pauline Johnson

I make a pilgrimage every year in March, the month of her birth and death, to her resting place, protected by a secluded grove of cedars in her beloved Stanley Park overlooking the cold waters of English Bay.  It is late in the day; the boulder that marks her grave holds the last rays of the setting sun as I quietly retrace my steps to the living world.  Even so, I feel her continued presence.

 

Pauline Johnson

Sounds of the days of summer
Murmur and die away,
And distance hides
The long, low tides,
As night shuts out the day.

E. Pauline Johnson, Good-bye

 

This week, I want to explore the life and stories of Emily Pauline Johnson.  She was charismatic, beautiful, controversial, and adored by a nation.  In recent times, she has been discredited, even considered a fraud.  Rather than taking a critic’s view, I prefer to follow her narrative.   We have started at the end; it is time to travel to the beginning.