Poem of the Week: Native

Nancy Haskett, Modesto, CA Branch President

 

Dakota, Choctaw, Wampanoag, Comanche –

names that echo off canyon walls,

blow in the wind over prairies,

rise fiercely from flames of burned villages

in smoke as ephemeral as government promises

proven false.

Warriors, weavers, hunters, herders,

once their drums were the heartbeat of this nation

they called home

before they lost the land,

sacrificed it in trade for horses, guns,

measles, smallpox,

boundless land exchanged

for desolate reservations,

countless lives lost in vain.

Yet, the names live on

as we speak the places:

Ma-sa-chu-sett, Minnesota, Monongahela,

Tehachapi, Narragansett, Rappahannock –

as we breathe life into the names

every day

 

the land remembers

 

Comments

  1. Well Done, It honors the Native American Nation and lauds their place in our country’s history.

  2. cheri warzecha says:

    Love the poem… especially like how the syncopation of names and places evoke the beat of their
    drums long silenced.

  3. Dayle Herstik says:

    Beautiful visions of a beautiful culture.

  4. Charlene Hampton Holloway says:

    Well written with sincere American History naming Tribes and territories once owned by Native Americans. We should honor this American History in poems.

  5. Carol Nipomnich Dixon says:

    A strongly stated poem.