Tag Archives: Man

Twisting Trail (day 2127)

Papa could’ve been another type of man
Like a raindrop could be caught in a hand
Let another letter slip through the mail
Gone again gone again as heat prevails.

“A little gone,” says the better man
Couldn’t you have just set it right: a plan
I said goodbye into a dusty pan
Held it close as I looked inside.

When the needles dropped upon the forest floor
Little birds gathered all around
Snowdrops sprouted into the sky
And the trail twisted on.

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXX (day 2024)

(part XXXXIX)

When I returned home it had been decided that
One of the young women who had just come of age
Would take Runs Wild, Long Arrow’s eldest son,
To be her man
There was a bit of to-do about the village
As everybody began preparing
For the potlatch
They were different
Then what I knew as weddings
The host, in this case Long Arrow,
Would bestow gifts upon the guests
Based on their rank
In our own way we prepared some special things
For the family was very close to us
Willow was nearly every day helping Mercy
She would come home at night
And I could see her hands
Were worked to the bone making something or other
I would laugh kindly as I’d get
Some Buffalo fat and rub her hands for a while.

The potlatch was quite special for me
It was a bit similar to the ceremonies
I had witnessed the year before
But there were a lot of symbolic gestures
That I had to ask Willow the meanings of
I asked Willow if this is what it was like for her
When she took her man
And she smiled and squeezed my hand
And Moon Cow, who was right next to me too,
Winked at me and exaggerated about the grandeur
Of her ceremony
Explaining to me how ten thousand people arrived
From all the hills in every direction
And the ceremony lasted
For one full moon cycle
I only half disbelieved him
For I’d believe two moon cycles were even too short a time
To celebrate in honour of Willow
I had heard many times how honourable
Willow and Moon Cow’s father had been.

We stayed up late with drums and fire
And lots of dancing that everybody loved
It seemed to come and go in waves
The beat of the drums, size of the fire,
Sweat on my forehead
Ecstasy like I had never experienced before
I’d watch Willow dance with the other women
A dream for me, watching her smile and move
Showcasing the steps she had memorized as a young woman
It was a true celebration of souls uniting
Supported by the entire family,
I stuffed myself silly
Because Mercy had some girls
Endlessly circling with more and more food
For everyone to eat.

The next morning as I woke
The mid-Spring frost still hung heavy
And little curls of smoke
Ascended from the big fire
That had powerfully burnt the night before
I could see everywhere around
There were little shelters that we had erected
Preparing for the potlatch
For the visitors that had come
Which, to be truthful, wasn’t that much
On account of us being more isolated
From our friendly tribes
It’s hard to get word out when nobody’s out there
I walked the village
Lost in what seemed to be a dreamworld
Saying hello to the early risers I’d see rummaging around
Wondering to myself what it would be like
If Willow and I had a ceremony
When I came back inside our teepee
Willow was boiling some delicious smelling tea
And I sat down and just watched her for a while.

part XXXXXI

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXVI (day 2020)

(part XXXXV)

During this time of the cold season
I became well acquainted with the myths and legends
Of the Blackfoot
One of my favourite
Was always of the Old Man, Or Na-pe,
He was a common figure in all of the legends
As the first human alive.

One day, he was sitting by his fire
And thinking to himself that he was lonely
He was restless and lonely
He looked around and tried to console himself
With the things that he had
He had a good stick to be poking the fire with
He had a good teepee to be living in
That needed no repair
He had more then enough furs around him
And he had a big buffalo just killed
To feed him for a good long time
He had almost everything he could want,
Why was he restless and lonely?

His only companion, A-pe’si the Coyote
Was very nice to have around
But right now
Was off scheming on his own
He was nice to have around
But always with his schemes
That just didn’t make sense to Old Man.

Old Man packed his pipe and lit it
And then paced around the fire for some time
Thinking: “It would be nice to have somebody to smoke with
Somebody to talk to
Somebody like me,”
And went back to smoking his pipe
“Why not!? I’m the Old Man
I can do anything I want!”

So, Old Man set about his own scheming
First he gathered lots of clay around
Then he started feeling his whole body over
Taking very careful note of each bone in his body
How it felt, how it was shaped
How many of them were in his body
And meticulously went to work
Forming each bone he had in his body with the clay
Once these were all done
He put them into the fire to harden
After he let them sit in the fire long enough
He carefully pulled them out
One by one.

Now Old Man sat with two piles of bones in front of him
One of the piles was all the perfect bones
That had come out of the fire as he had designed them
But the other pile was filled with all of the broken ones
That had split or bent inside of the fire
With the perfect bones
He began to tie the bones into their proper place
Mimicking his own body
He tied the bones together with Buffalo sinew
And he then smoothed them with Buffalo fat
On top of this he then padded some clay mixed with Buffalo blood
And then stretched over the entire frame
Buffalo skin taken from the inside of the Buffalo.

With his mannequin in front of him
He smiled: “Not perfect, but it’s pretty good,”
Poking a bit at some of the crooked pieces
Perhaps he could have thinned it out here
Or tied it a little better with sinew there
So he picked up the man he had made
Blew smoke into his eyes, nose, and mouth
And he came to life
The Old Man asked him if he’d like to sit by the fire
Where he puffed some more on his pipe
And then passed the pipe to the man and said:
“I will make some more,”
And went to collect some more clay
To make some more men.

All day long Old Man worked
Forming more bones from clay
Putting them into the fire
Carefully taking each bone out of the fire
And tying them together with Buffalo sinew
Patting on Buffalo fat to smooth them out
Then a layer of Buffalo blood mixed with clay
And finally stretching Buffalo skin over the entire frame
He sat every one of them down by the fire
And blew smoke into their eyes, nose, and mouths
And left a very big pile of broken bones
Beside the fire.

So now Old Man had some company
Men to hunt with, to sit and smoke his pipe with
To talk with, and they all lived
In his teepee and another teepee he had built
He enjoyed the new life so much
That he began to get lazy
And never threw the broken bones into the river
Like he had intended to do
Every time anybody came or went to the fire
They had to pass by the big pile of broken bones
And this became quite a nuisance to them
They would trip over them frequently
Causing the pile to fall over
Which then had to be picked up and placed neatly again
Each night the wind blew through them
Making the most dreadful of noises.

By this time A-pe’si the Coyote had returned
And he walked around
Inspecting everything that had been done
While he was gone doing whatever it was he was doing,
He didn’t much like the men
And stuck his nose up at them
Saying to Old Man:
“Your handiwork has a little bit to be desired,”
But Old Man knew A-pe’si and just laughed.

A-pe’si also pointed out the pile of bones
“Surely you could do something with the pile of bones here
Why don’t you make another man?”
“Alright alright, I will make more men,”
So Old Man and A-pe’si went to work
Clicking and rattling the bones
As they tried to piece them together
Then tying them all together with sinew
And using Buffalo fat to smooth them over
Adding clay mixed with Buffalo blood on top
Then stretching skin from inside of a Buffalo over it
When Old Man had started
He knew only of man to make and that’s what he was doing
But at every moment he did something
A-pe’si would come and change it a little bit
And so back and forth they went
Until it was done
And they both stepped back
Looking at what they had created
Old Man lit his pipe and thought
It wasn’t what he had created before and was skeptical
Yet Old Man still blew smoke into its eyes, nose, and mouth
And the woman came to life.

A-pe’si and Old Man worked all day
Tying together the rest of the broken bones
With sinew from the Buffalo
And covering it with Buffalo fat to smooth it out
Then molding it together with clay mixed with Buffalo blood
And finally stretching over all of the bones
Skin from the inside of a Buffalo
And after they finished each one
Old Man would blow smoke into its eyes, nose, and mouth
And each woman would come to life.

When all of the bones were tied together
And made into women
Old Man said: “When I made the men
I set them all by the fire”
But as Old Man and A-pe’si walked over to the fire
The women all began to talk amongst each other
A-pe’si smiled and was very pleased with what he had done
And Old Man shrugged his shoulders and lit his pipe
And sat down at the fire and began to smoke it.

So it is known
That even to this day
If you have a fire around
The men will all prefer to sit by the fire
And smoke their pipes
And the women will all gather together
And talk with themselves
To this day it is not known
Whether this is because of how the bones
Clicked and rattled
Pieced together from broken ones
Or because A-pe’si,
Who is a noisy animal by nature,
Had a part in their making.

part XXXXVII

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXII (day 2006)

(part XXXI)

Each day I fell more and more in love with Willow
Not to be overlooked was sweet Lily
But Willow was my woman and I her man
And everyday we learned each other more and more
She was patient with me when I needed to learn
Something that most of the young scouts knew naturally
But she could see the desire in my eyes
And she always believed in me
I can only imagine it isolated her a little bit
From the rest of her family
Falling in love with a white man
But then again
Her and Moon Cow were always kind of unique.

She was a good woman
And provided for me in a way I could have never imagined
We grew with each other
And I’m sure I wasn’t like the men she knew, like Lily’s father
We didn’t quite fully understanding each others ways
Expectations of our own cultures
But we were both very patient and considerate
Which allowed us to subtly learn and adjust
To fit.

At night I would lie with her
Smelling her warmth next to me
Feeling her breathing upon my chest
Listening to words she did not speak
But a deep comfort she exuded
She was as kind and interested in me as I her
And our passion frequently overtook us
As the coals on the fire deeply tingled asleep
As the first birds of day sang sweetly.

We would often walk through the forest by ourselves
Looking for herbs or vegetables or roots
Anything really, mostly for ourselves
We would hold hands and stop by little streams
Or our favorite viewpoints
Or little meadows with wild flowers growing tall
And make love to each other
Without restraint, wildly,
And cleanse each other in the refreshing water
After we had enjoyed the buzz
And warm sun on our bodies.

part XXXIII

20151125-vancouver-island-victoria-port-renfrew-trestle-ned-tobin-64

Moon at Midnight – Part X (day 1984)

(part IX)

It was hard work
Very hard work for a traveler
Mostly used to walking for hours
I could see that Frank was used to this labour
But I could also see
How glad he was to have help
At such a labour intensive job
Both of us enjoyed a dip in the stream at noon

Frank was a silent man while working
Focused on the motion of the saw
Or the point his axe was to come down on the block
I could tell he was a precise man
By the way his axes were kept
A perfect bevel upon their edge
That split through wood
Like butter on Amy’s warm bread
I commented on this a few times
And he just kept saying
A real man must look after his tools.

Clarinet would come around
With the dogs once and a while
But Frank would tell her it was too dangerous
Around the chopping blocks so
And she would wander back to the house
Amy and her would bring sandwiches to us
Roasted beef with cucumber and
Amy’s secret sauce she wouldn’t give me the recipe for
Who was I kidding though,
I wouldn’t be making it any time soon
I think it had radishes in it.

During the evenings we would sit around the oven
I’d ask just enough questions
To keep Frank talking as he liked to,
Always with a story of childhood
Clearly fond memories for him with his brothers,
But always with his sweetheart close by
Smiling, just as I watched her these fond evenings
Clearly full of love,
I’d fall asleep smiling every night.

part XI

Once There Was A Queen (day 1860)

Once there was a Queen
Who knew my very first name
Mounted up the sun
Drove away to Alabama
With my desire in her hand
And now I call myself a man.

Beautiful People (day 1824)

Why are people so beautiful?
Some days the ruin of my heart
Lingers upon my tongue
And touches my nose with the faintest scent
Of midsummer’s rain.
I cannot handle this pain
In the easiest of ways,
Waiting for my touch to return
And senses to die down.
For I am only a man,
Saddened by a never ending toil of life
To which I patch holes
With beautiful people in my heart.

Beautiful People by Ned Tobin

Night Air (day 1790)

I’ve got anger seeping into my blue blood veins
Letting animosity fuel this deep inside fire
This isn’t dragging me down, boy, hell no.
For the sky’s calling me higher then high.
This is a lesson of life with a cruel world twist,
But no man’s heart has ever been softer
Nor shall erosion get at it’s strength.
No, this is a quest in growth,
With a battle-cry ringing out in cooling night air.

Ode to a Perfectly Placed Bench to Enjoy Nature (day 1775)

About my way
A merry one I should say
I wondered to myself:
My dear sweet man
What have you done,
You’ve gone and walked yourself out.
So there I was
A bit confused
Wondering what I could do
To rest my weary legs a while
To recoup my troubled mind.
And all at once
You appeared to me
Like some magic: unleashed
And set free,
Which I took as queue
And found my rest
Upon your well worn stead.

a bench in Fort George Park in Prince George, BC

Sweet Moments (day 1773)

I am an expression of sadness
Lying lazily in the sun
Forgetting what I’ve heard
And letting go of all I’ve learned
To have a sweet moment
Agape
While everything else remains
Like poles in a lost lagoon
Stilts for a man
Long gone, long lost,
Long given up and moved on.

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