African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

T. Thomas Fortune, "Fah-Fah" (1905)


A Legend of the Seminole Indians.

List to the tale of Fah-Fah,
Fah-Fah, the Indian maid;
So brave and lovely was she
Her virtues should not fade.

The pride of the lone prairie,
With black and searching eyes,
She wandered free the forests
And slept beneath the skies.

Ogo, the Chief, her parent,
Regarded her with pride,
And claimed she was the beauty
Of all the prairie wide.

The youth who won his Fah-Fah
Must be a valiant brave,
A warrior wise in council
Whom Nature prowess gave.

And there were two young warriors
Who sought young Fah-Fah's hand,
And one was brave Lomnaker
Of Ogo's loyal band.

And none of all the warriors
Could better draw the bow,
Or mount the Indian pony,
Or wield the long lasso.

His voice was heard in council,
Where scars of honor spoke,
'Mongst men who had borne bravely
The light and heavy yoke.

And, next, the Chief, Amwamba,
His haughty claims preferred—
Amwamba, quick to anger,
To danger long inured.

Ogo disliked this Chieftain,
But more his warriors feared;
He wished to give his Fah-Fah
To one his counsels shared.

He dreaded a collision
With this great warrior Chief,
And pain him 'twould Lomnaker
To cause a cureless grief.

He shrewdly dropped the matter;
His Fah-Fah must decide
To which of her brave suitors
She wished to be a bride.

Then both the tribes did gather
Upon the level plain,
To know the lucky suitor
The Prairie Rose would gain.

Old Ogo signaled silence
And lifted up his voice:
"You must name now, my daughter;
The warrior of your choice;

"They both are brave and valiant,
To honor known and fame;
And your choice of a partner
Will cause you naught of shame."

And then there was excitement,
But yet no word arose;
And silent was young Fah-Fah,
While thinking which to choose.

The rival suitors fiercely
Upon each other glared,
And both the tribes in anger
About them wildly stared.

Young Fah-Fah raised her eyes up,
On young Lomnaker gazed,
Then to his side moved quickly,
By love and ardor dazed!

The human mass in silence
A moment did remain,
Then 'rose loud yells of fierceness
That echoed o'er the plain.

Lomnaker stood with valor
By his elected bride,
And, with the arm of courage,
Felled many at his side.

Amwamba rushed upon him
And aimed a deadly blow,
Which, had not Fah-Fah warded,
Would sure have laid him low,

The rival chieftains grappled,
With prowess laid about,
While from a thousand voices
Arose a deafening shout.

Then ceased the other warriors
The clatter of their bows,
To watch in breathless silence
Their champions deal the blows.

So valiant, well-matched warriors
We do not often see,
And long the time in coming
Their like again will be!

His foe Lomnaker conquered,
And trampled on his head!
He proudly stood the victor—
Amwamba now was dead.

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