Thursday, October 25, 2018

1027. Song For The First People - David Wagoner

When you learned that men were coming, you changed into rocks.
Into fish and birds, into flowers and rivers in despair of us.
The tree under which I bend may be you,
That stone by the fire, the nighthawk swooping
And crying out over the swamp reeds, the reeds themselves.
Have I held you too lightly all my mornings?
I have broken your silence, dipped you up
Carelessly in by hands and drunk you, burnt you,
Carved you, slit your calm throat and danced on your skin,
Made charms of your bones. You have endured
All of it, suffering my foolishness
As the old wait quietly among clumsy children.
Now others are coming, neither like you nor like men.
I must change, First People. How do I change myself?
If no one can teach me the long will of the cedar,
Let me become Water Dog, Bitteroot, or Shut Beak.
Change me. Forgive me. I will learn to crawl, stand, or fly

Anyshere among you, forever, as though among great elders.