A Poet’s Beginning

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Reflection

“It is dusk on the Lost Lagoon,
And we two dreaming the dusk away,
Beneath the drift of a twilight grey,
Beneath the drowse of an ending day,
And the curve of a golden moon.”

George and Emily were well known and respected.  Their home, Chiefswood, was a frequent meeting place for  intellectual and political elites such as the inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, the painter Homer Watson, anthropologist Horatio Hale and Lady and Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada and representative of the British monarchy.

The Biographical Notice in “Legends of Vancouver,” states that Chief George Johnson was of the “renowned Mohawk tribe, being a scion of one of the fifty noble families which composed the historical confederation founded by Haiwatha upwards of four hundred years ago.”  British law deemed that Pauline was Mohawk and a ward of the British Crown.   Her Mohawk status was not as clear within Mohawk tradition, which is based on a matrilineal culture which determines descent through the female line.

“It is dark in the Lost Lagoon,
And gone are the depths of haunting blue,
The grouping gulls, and the old canoe,
The singing firs, and the dusk and–you,
And gone is the golden moon.

Educated by her mother on works of Bryon, Tennyson, Keats, Browning and Milton; steeped in the stories told by her grandfather, John Smoke Johnson, a veteran of the War of 1812; surrounded by the natural beauty of wilderness, she wrote poetry at an early age inspired by what she embraced as a dual heritage.

O! lure of the Lost Lagoon,–
I dream to-night that my paddle blurs
The purple shade where the seaweed stirs,
I hear the call of the singing firs
In the hush of the golden moon.

E. Pauline Johnson

The Lost Lagoon

Lost Lagoon