In case you haven’t heard, April is National Poetry Writing Month according to those who are taking the 30-day Poetry Challenge. I haven’t created any poetry lately. For me to write poetry, I need inspiration that compels me to write in that format, which doesn’t happen often. I normally write prose, something more like this:
He is close.
He laughs at me with his doggy grin, tongue lolling out one side, eyes twinkling with amusement. Suddenly, he bounds away. He runs with his pack, his family. They chase a herd of dear and feast, replenishing their strength. He joins his mate, nuzzling her face and neck as she nurses her pups.
Twilight descends and the full moon rises, washing the fields and woods with silver. He feels compelled to find a higher place, a rocky plateau. He lifts his voice, praying to the grandmother as she slips across the inky sky. He prays for a bountiful hunt, a healthy family, to live long enough to see his pups grow strong. He thanks the grandmother for the light in the midst of darkness, for the freedom to live as he chooses.
He is me.
The inspiration for the piece above was a song presented by a native elder as he beat his drum. Although I did not understand the words he sang, the images above came to me as I listened to him, eyes closed, heart and mind open. I used these images in ‘Spirit Quest‘, when Michelle had her first sweat lodge experience. I was surprised at how much the music had moved me, but I felt an affinity to the culture. The beat of the drum stirred my blood. According to the elder, visions of a wolf represents your inner self, and so the wolf piece was born.
I also wrote a couple of free style poems based on my feelings and all I had learned at the time:
Once, the breath of the Mother caressed my face.
Fingers of cool air reassured me that all was well in the universe.
The cries of eagles floated on the wind’s feathery back.
The burble of a clear stream brought the blood of the Mother to sustain me.
Now, all I hear is a single voice echoing the songs of our ancestors.
Her haunting tune plucks at my heart.
Tears form trails on my cheeks
Like the path of the buffalo, so long ago.
It saddens me to know that so much has been lost
Because of man’s foolishness.
It is time to recover what has disappeared,
If not in the flesh, then in the spirit.
Noble beasts, their homes destroyed, search for other places.
Birds fly far from us as cities engulf the land.
Trees become our homes, but we do not hear their cries.
Their voices are silent, their dignity stripped from them.
Our most ancient ancestors, the rocks, are torn from the Mother,
Crushed, set aflame, reshaped.
I feel the pain of the Mother.
I long to embrace Her, comfort Her.
How can I stop Her suffering?
My fingers must tell Her story.
My voice must warn of Her plight.
Let the wind carry my words.
To the sun
Pound your feet
Faster thrums the drum
Voices honour the ancestors
Hands give offerings
Sage and cedar
Souls are light
Poetry is driven by feelings and usually evokes emotions in those who read it. Yesterday, I was perusing a close friend’s blog who has recently taken on a 30-day health-related writing challenge and one of the challenges was to write a Haiku. When I read her Haiku, I was really touched and it brought home some of the physical challenges she has faced. I asked her if I could re-post it here, to share her thoughts on a debilitating condition. For the past three and a half years she has been struggling to recover from a stroke that paralyzed her entire left side of her body. Here is what she wrote:
How life will slow down
when the signals get so lost
and confusion starts.
His words would sputter
listeners look away since
He does not matter.
Helping hands reach out
She, glad not to be alone
Grasps at salvation.
After reading this, I hope you are able, in some small way, to appreciate the hardships she has faced. For those who might want to check out her blog and some of her other writing challenges, Linda can be found at Leading a Healthy Life here.
I have a few more poems to share, but I think I will save them for next Sunday.
[All photos in this post were taken from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the picture to link with the original site]