How could it be informal
For a season to shift away
Lose ones leaves, harvest frost
Whither and die away.
And in the grand finale,
The final shift of light
Sprinkled with white snow,
A rest forever known.
These trees have begun to speak in many languages
To my ears that are listening to silence.
Each time Orion shines, Owl begs for a lover
While my tears dry upon my cheek
– Sap dries upon each tree’s wound,
For no wound is too deep to heal
– Though frost strikes into depths I cannot feel anymore.
Dog enjoys this silence, he hears it all
He hears what I cannot hear
Though my eyes they fight fire with his.
I leave my footsteps alone
And find a new way home, trees lead me there.
This treeline I never made yet live upon every day
Grows against my territory like Winter against Fall,
I have not become used to it
Eagerly entering into the darkened shire
With my heart freely beating against my lips
That keep pace with a dog, yet fearless
And listening to trees lead the way.
Walked the seas and weathered the rain
Woke up in morning’s frost
Felt snowflakes upon my nose
Hot sun upon my ears
Wind blew off my worn out hat
Dust flew in my eye
Humidity soaked me inside out
Shriveled me up like a raisen
Saw through twenty three hours of darkness
Never slept for twenty four days straight
Walked upon burning sand
Slept upon jagged rocks
Met a mosquito in a spiders web
Fell into a great bear’s den
Entangled by a caterpillar’s cocoon
Demonized by a shadow
Yet still I look for tomorrow’s bread
As today has come to an end.
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.
As Autumn’s candle blows clouds away
Sharpness enters into this day
At the cost of blue one cannot say
The geese should fly today.
But as Hermes doth say,
“Winter, come our way,”
So must we abide by nature’s law.
And here we are amidst the fray
Swirling leaves on an Autumn day,
And frost spreading it’s silver lining
Along the open grass
With little paw prints
Bustling here and there,
To prepare for Winter’s deep lair,
Shelter and warmth bites the air
Though Autumn’s wick doth get shorter.
And fall like the rest of us;
Autumn my heart can never bear.
And sing it out to me
Steal it from the depths
I’ve covered up and closed.
Be the curling leaf
Upon which my gaze can never leave,
To the voice I never gave
Rumbling rumbling rumbling
Rain that never came
And tender so:
Frosting of my heart.
Night falls in quietening circles
Swiftly crawling away in crackles,
And my footsteps leave traces for
Two days more
Until it thaws.
Just as Helios had mounted high
Upon our valleys Eastern slope,
He chased birds as frost’s glove
So now we wait as new circles retreat
Into twilight’s thin air,
Blues to blacks
And a star lit map
Guides us forever home.
Where are my eyes,
The sad fellows singing heart songs
Along icy Nordic roads
To the beat of thump thump thump –
Hard footsteps to control
As solid Mother Earth
Shuts down her blooming
To awaken the underbelly of life
That slowly crawls in vein-like formations
Through all things
Dead or alive.
Where are my eyes
That I have not let sing
But needlessly fret over wrinkled sheets,
Ignoring the awakening world
In a thin veiled frost,
Laid out as if the spine of her neck
Were strangely tingling
Alerting her of tragedy.
Where are my eyes?