G.R. Gaus

(April 11 1950 / St. Louis)

Chief Joseph


Away you fled, eight hundred strong,
The wind, was in your song;
Two thousand behind, the chase was on,
The fires, were out by dawn.

Canada bound, may find some peace,
Far away, from the Calvary's;
Pursuit and battle never cease,
Once captured, there's no release.

Campaign went on, for many a day,
Thirteen hundred miles away;
Women and children, drifting astray,
Harsh conditions, began to weigh.

Freezing, starving, reaching for never,
Widely known, as a valiant endeavor;
The end came soon, surrender and sever,
'I will fight, no more, forever'.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Edited: Monday, April 16, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I've always admired the stories of Chief Joseph; he was a man of peace. His last crusade as a free Native American was to leave the United States and reside peacefully in Canada among other neighboring tribes already living in exile there. He managed to out maneuver the seventh cavalry for months until he finally gave up only forty miles from the Canadian border. He died years later on the reservation, never being allowed to return to his Nez Perce home in Montana. The attending doctor at his death said "He died of a broken heart"; your heart lives on Chief Joseph…..

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