Last night the geese came back. Every year the geese, returning,
Do this, I don’t
The curtains opened and there was
An old man in a headdress of feathers,
Leather leggings and a vest made
From the kin of some animal. He danced
In a kind of surly rapture…
I don’t know
Lots of things but I know this: next year
Flows over the starting point I’ll think I’m going to
Drown in the shimmering miles of it and then
One or two birds will fly me over
As for the pain of others, of course it tried to be
Abstract, but then
There flares up out of a vanished wilderness, like fire,
Still blistering: the wrinkled face
Of an old Chippewa
Smiling, hating us,
Dancing for his life.
Two kinds of salvation – birds returning to spring and the surly dance in the pain of a vanished wilderness. Where is the deliverance in this? Perhaps that it is the presence of life, the story that must be told, that cannot be stopped from being sung, told, and danced. It is your/my story of pain and it is the flight overhead of the sun's arc towards darkness. Would you tell me your despair and I will tell you mine? Then perhaps the false smile will slip away, as will the hate.
Where in your life do you tell the story of our vanished wilderness and peoples?