Poem: The Trapper’s Wife

Bring down my woolen shawl, Elude,

And your pipe, and the blackberry wine.

Wrap them in the quilt, Elude,

And come to the river

With your pretty white smile, your black moustache,

And your long hair ahangin’ in your eye.

First time I saw the one my soul loves

I was sixteen, and could have had a beau

From any in Dudierville.

I’d walked to Alderic

To buy the cotton

For my spring dress

And I saw him playing with a dog

Outside his father’s shack—

A black-haired, thin, barefoot and shirtless boy.

I said to him, bonjour; he only stared.

My father has three horses in Dudierville,

Each one big and dappled, like their sire.

We have no horse, Elude,

And between here and Dudierville

Lies a half day’s walk,

Three thorny miles, the short way.

Foolish to walk to the dance, Elude;

Tonight we take the boat.

I saw how you smiled at Suzette á Ralph

At the last dance.

When we left you were drunk,

And I went on ahead to make a path through the thorns

So you could walk easy.

When we were inside the cabin

You took me in your arms

And told me I was soft to hold.

There were thorns in my dress;

You drove them to my flesh, Elude,

But I held my peace.

I know that you are false, Elude.

Sit up in front, my love, and row.

Make the way easy;

You draw my heart after you.

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