Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two Kinds of Deliverance – March 28, 2010

Last night the geese came back. Every year the geese, returning,

Do this, I don’t

Know how.

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

When spring

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

The threshold.

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?

1 comment:

  1. I have an adopted nephew who is Native American. He has researched his past and spent time learning about the culture and connecting with his roots and tribe. He currently lives away from his tribe, but connects with other Native Americans. When I speak with others about him, I often mention how our treatment of them in the past has fragmented the tribes and formed a generation that has not grown up connected to their tribal teachings. Thus, many are lost in a culture that often shows prejudice toward them. My nephew has grown his lovely black hair and pulls it into an Indian style pony tail held with an Indian braided band at the base of his neck. With this identity he feels the prejudice toward him. He has not developed hate, but more of a sadness when looking back on the history of his ancesters.

    As for the destruction of our wilderness, I often point out to people that every new subdivision destroys more than trees. It destroys the homes of birds and other creatures. The trees renew our oxygen level and the birds eat some of the insects that annoy us such as gnats and mosquitoes, etc..