The River, Dolores
      By: Alfred Castner King
            Outray, Colo., 1907

I will sing of a quaint old tradition,
    A legend romantic and strange,
Which was whispered to me by the pine trees
    High up on the wild mountain range
Far away in the mystical Westland,
    From the mountain peaks crested with snow,
Glides Dolores, the river of sorrow,
    Dolores, the river of woe.

Time was when this river of sorrow
    Had never a thought to be sad,
But meandered in joy through the meadows,
    With bluebell and columbine clad.
Her ripples were ripples of laughter,
    And the soft, dulcet voice of her flow
Was suggestive of peace and affection,
    Not accents of anguish and woe.

Long ago, ere the foot of the white man
    Had left its first print on the sod,
A people, both free and contented,
    Her mesas and canyon-ways trod.
Then Dolores, the river of sorrow,
    Was a river of laughter and glee,
As she playfully dashed through the canyons
In her terrible rush to the sea.

High up on the cliffs in their dwellings,
     Which were apertures walled up with rocks,
Lived this people, sequestered and happy;
    Their dwellings now serve the wild fox.
They planted the maize and potato,
    The kind river caused them to grow,
So they worshipped the river with singing
    Which blent with its musical flow.

This people, so artless and peaceful,
    Knew nothing of carnage and war,
But dwelt in such quiet and plenty
    They knew not what weapons were for.
They gathered the maize in its season,
    Unmindful of famine or foe
And chanted their thanks to the spirits
    That dwelt in the canyons below.

But one evil day from the Northland
    Swept an army in battle array,
Which fell on this innocent people
    And massacred all in a day.
Their bodies were cast in the river,
    A feast for the vultures, when lo!
The laughter and song of the river
    Were changed to the wliling of woe.

Gone, gone are this people forever,
    Not a vestige nor remnant remains
To gather the maize in its season
    Ane join in the harvest refrains;
But the river still mourns for her people
    With weird and disconsolate flow,
Dolores, the river of sorrow,
    Dolores-the river of woe.

"Could this be what happened to the cliff
  dwellers of the Grand Canyon"?
                                  Kelly O'Kelly

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