River Poetry     Nanook's River Poetry
Wolastook Cataract

Wolastook Cataract
Wolastook Cataract, now known as Grand Falls. The ancient Maliseet village of Meductic lies one day's paddle downstream.

I linger at the railing
over the brink in the haze,
recalling legends hailing
back to the olden days.

When the maiden Malabeem,
an innocent Maliseet squaw,
played with her sisters at the stream
in springtime Madawaska.

The day drew long, the sky was dark,
when silently the Iroquois
came round the bend in boats of bark
and there the children saw.

They turned their boats, swung near the shore,
as their paddles swept the water.
'Look! There's one! O look there's more!'
cried in fear the Maliseet daughter.

She gathered all her younger sisters,
bade them hide deep in the alder,
saw them blend into the whispers,
turned and stranger was upon her.

He lashed her to the forward beam
of the lead canoe. With his stick
he pointed, 'guide us down the stream.
Tomorrow we attack Meductic.'

Malabeem, how many did you save
with your unselfish final act?
Led them all to watery grave
on Wolastook Cataract.

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