13 September 2009

Silenced Whispers


Riding westward rails,
government sharpshooters
slaughter fields of collapsing bison,
an undulating agony
that quietly sinks
into putrid piles
abuzz with flies.

They are opening a path to the future!
Building a brave new world.

Westward Ho!
Westward Ho!

Little regard falls to the lives this land-lust fouled.

Indigenous people
dance a sustaining give-and-take
with the earth.


US policy fractionates land, and disregards people.
This is what my history books never told me.


A stand of bouldered cliffs
whispers near the Dearborn River
when the air is cold enough
to lift its voice up
from the depths of its creviced nests.

It murmurs of murders
and beasts riding beasts
iron across rock
shooting and falling
sighing a message of massacres
when the freeze frees the stories it speaks.

The Dearborn’s solid surface
reflects clouds rolling past.
Crows call out from fence posts,
as the cliffs mark history’s march
toward tomorrows through this day.

A shot rings out,
and a rock chuck falls
from the face of the cliffs
silencing the whispers.

Modern sharpshooters hoot and howl
as they run toward the rock chuck’s carcass.
One of them lifts it high above his wool-capped head
spitting tobacco and cursing commendations
in his common tongue.

1 comment:

signed...bkm said...

Great historic poem - our countries past has pages tragedy and regret - my family tree includes both Dakota Sioux and US Cavalry (married to each other)...ironic our histories...bkm