Saturday, May 21, 2005

a poem I wrote

Of all the poems I've written, this is perhaps my favorite.  I think of it every time I'm back in the seclusion of my cabin. 

THE INDIANS KNEW  

No one really owns the land: the Indians knew it best,
And laughed to see the settlers, as they moved from east to west;
They'd quickly build their homes and clear the land, till it was bare:
But birds flew in unhindered, for no man can fence the air! 

No one ever owns the land: the Indians had it right;
You may as well hold back the sun, or parcel out its light.
Though fence surrounds a property, it will not stop the deer
From moving freely to and fro, at different times of year. 

No one can truly own the land.  The Indians knew it well.
Yes, you may write up deeds, and even boldly buy and sell,
But talk to all the earthworms and the garter snakes and moles:
Tell them the land is yours, and tell them where to dig their holes. 

Enclose your precious property and hoard each blade of grass;
Post signs that warn, "No Trespassing", but they will never last!
This earth belongs to everyone who ever drew a breath,
And someone else will claim it when you close your eyes in death. 

I seem to hear the Indians, in my spirit, laughing still.
The white man claims to own the land, each valley and each hill:
He plows and discs and harrows it, and sows his precious seed---
But after he's asleep at night, the deer and rabbits feed!
 

9 comments:

tendernoggle said...

So so true! Good and  beautiful poetry!
Carlene

madcobug said...

Very good and very true. You did a good job on that one. Thanks for sharing it. Helen

amiragabrielle said...

THE POEM BROUGHT ME BACK TO WHEN I WAS A CHILD. WE USE TO GO GRANDMA'S HOWARD'S IN EAST TENNESSEE. THE ANIMALS ROAMED AROUND THE BIG FARM. NOW AND AGAIN ONE OF THE OLE JERSEY'S COWS WOULD GET LOOSE. WE WOULD HAVE TO CALL THE OLE GAL HOME. I AM VERY PROUD OF MY HERITAGE. MY DADDY'S PPL ARE OVER ½ CHEROKEE. THE MANY TRAITS I ADMIRE ABT MY DADDY'S PPL. THEY USED WHAT THEY NEEDED OF THE LAND, AND LEFT THE REST.

I WONDER THE GENERATIONS OF THE PAST AND OLD FOLK LORE AND STORIES WILL BE KEPT ON? I TELL MY CHILDREN EVERY CHANCE I GET. I AM JUST A COUNTRY GAL AT HEART, WHO HAPPENS TO LIVE IN THE CITY FOR NOW.

GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY,

GABRIELLE HOWARD-GENGLER

toonguykc said...

Okay.  That's officially MY favorite poem of yours ... even though I will always have a special fondness for the toad-licking piece.  ;)

Russ

bookncoffee said...

I LOVE this poem.  You are soooo good!!!
Sonya

sanforized6 said...

The Indians had it so right! When we're all walking around with oxygen masks on, maybe someone will say'Darn, those Indians knew what they were doing!!" Great poem. Enjoy your cabin. rich

plieck30 said...

I love the poem. I hate the way people in our area put up deer proof fences to keep the deer in because they think they own them. Paula

jspiker said...

Very true....it was an evil thing when the white man invented "private property".
And sad...............

domesticatedchic said...

What a great poem! Love it.. right on the money.. Be sure to tune in June 10th for the "Into the West" series on TNT.. I have a friend who is in it.. a native american friend.. see more here

www.intothewest.com

Its going to be a great series that tells both sides of the story.. so to speak..:) Mel