"those poems, especially the ones that mention our lake and the Shadow River where we’ve had so many picnics, are so evocative"
Shadow River - Credit: Frank Micklethwaite
Public DomainShadow River - Credit: Frank Micklethwaite

The poem he’s referring to was by Pauline Johnson, a part Mohawk poet. It is used in the introduction to the novel.

Shadow River

from the collection, Flint and Feather

by E. Pauline Johnson



A stream of tender gladness,

Of filmy sun, and opal tinted skies;

Of warm midsummer air that lightly lies

In mystic rings,

Where softly swings

The music of a thousand wings

That almost tones to sadness.

Midway 'twixt earth and heaven,

A bubble in the pearly air, I seem

To float upon the sapphire floor, a dream

Of clouds of snow,

Above, below,

Drift with my drifting, dim and slow,

As twilight drifts to even.

The little fern-leaf, bending

Upon the brink, its green reflection greets,

And kisses soft the shadow that it meets

With touch so fine,

The border line

The keenest vision can't define;

So perfect is the blending.

The far, fir trees that cover

The brownish hills with needles green and gold,

The arching elms o'erhead, vinegrown and old,

Repictured are

Beneath me far,

Where not a ripple moves to mar

Shades underneath, or over.

Mine is the undertone;

The beauty, strength, and power of the land

Will never stir or bend at my command;

But all the shade

Is marred or made,

If I but dip my paddle blade;

And it is mine alone,

O! pathless world of seeming!

O! pathless life of mine whose deep ideal

Is more my own than ever was the real.

For others Fame

And Love's red flame,

And yellow gold; I only claim

The shadows and the dreaming.