Saturday, September 19, 2015

To the Grandmothers Living In My Bones



To the Grandmothers living in my bones, 
I say: Suwaas?ick ?ah*
At two a.m., in the swirling mist,
when the veil between the worlds is thin,
the Old Ones have been visiting my dreams.
If I awaken too quickly, I sometimes see
a friendly female ghost smiling at me
before she fades away
in the shadowy corner of my room.

Ancestors, I feel your strength 
resting in my spine
that's bending towards the earth.
You are holding me up
during my timeworn trek,
as you did the elders on the Long March
along the Trail of Tears.

I feel you in the silence,
whispering entities alive with wisdom,
speaking truth I strain to overhear.
I hear the call of your drums
in my wildish heart,
when I am painting words 
on the blank canvas of my screen
to remember my foremothers,
who once were warriors,
who spoke with oracles and owls,
who danced, laughing crones,
barefoot and spirit-filled,
on the earth,
now ghosted in a dream,
of you, I am singing.

Bone of your bone,
from grandmother to grandmother,
in me you still live.
Through me, while I have breath,
your stories will still be told.

To these friendly spirits,
I pay my deep respect,
and say: naniiqsukleco**

*  means 'this is for you' in the Nuu chah nulth language. ** means Grandmother, Thank You.

posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

35 comments:

  1. I swear I saw those friendly spirit as well. It's somewhat comforting to see that they watch.

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  2. "Ancestors, I feel your strength
    resting in my spine
    that's bending towards the earth."
    You feel them deeply and invoke them and thank them here--and make me feel them too. (Plus I love that you put backbone in your poems) Bless your "wildish Heart."

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  3. Wonderful to be visited by the 'old ones' in the night, Sherry. It sounds as if they have some valuable messages to share. I would imagine them to be comforters as well as teachers.

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  4. The last bit there, telling the stories. I think we have lost that and got caught up a bit in our fantasies. Our take us away from realities. It saddens me when kids dont know where they came from. They have no connection so it is no wonder they drift. So I envy the connection you have -- for myself, and for others.

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  5. I have no doubt that you can "overhear" the wisdom that surrounds you from the Grandmothers that have gone on before. I love to hear the stories of the wise ones, crones, and elders...so glad you are here, Sherry, to pass their wisdom to us.

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  6. what a wonderful read...each word is to be felt deeply...

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  7. If only more of us would listen to our ancestors talking to us perhaps we would act more sensibly. I love your stirring accounts of heritage Sherry.

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  8. To feel one's history is quite incredible....beautifully expressed.

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  9. a very moving piece describing so well the debt we owe for much of what we are- we are what others once were. I know that now I am as old as my grandmother once was!

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  10. Bone of your bone,
    from grandmother to grandmother,
    in me you still live.

    This is so beautiful.. indeed.. the teachings of our ancestors live through us for several generations to come. Beautifully penned!

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  11. Strength resting in the spine...true mothers/grandmothers (not necessarily biological ones) give us that i think and hope...what a wonderful thank you this poem is...

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  12. "Ancestors, I feel your strength
    resting in my spine"
    : and that is enough not to fear anything. and thankful for that.
    an excellent poem, Sherry.

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  13. Spirits can be comforting at times :) lovely poem

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  14. Spirits can be comforting at times :) lovely poem

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  15. There is a lot of comfort to be gained from being in touch with our ancestors.

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  16. I loved your poem. I have been researching my ancestry for a few good years now, helped by my mum and other relatives.

    Greetings from London.

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  17. Lovely! It is important, I think, to acknowledge our ancestors.

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  18. This is like a spiritual journey, Sherry. It's like a hymn. Some parts of the poem made me emotional.

    This is also reminded me a part of the movie Mulan where they pray for the ancestors. It's different but thanks for bringing back memories

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  19. Yes, this is good! Bone of my bone, mother of my mother, i am you and you are me!

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  20. That feeling of nearness when the dreams recur! Can one be faulted for recognizing it? One gets smoothed out from the unsettling mood perhaps!

    Hank

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  21. Agree with Susan, Sherry-- those lines about the visitation of your grandmothers and your own bending spine are especially lovely-- and your wildish heart. Thanks . K.

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  22. Totally I relate to your whisperings and appearances. Oh and ancestry bones. Nice phrase

    Sunday smiles

    Much love...

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  23. Sherry, I love the title of the poem, and the way you lead the reader through a process, stanza by stanza.

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  24. I loved reading this. I rarely think of my ancestry, but you maintain a wonderful connection. You write it beautifully and I'm certain the grandmothers are grateful.

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  25. As I was reading this I could feel the ancient ones and I do believe they visit us to tell us their stories to share their world and it is in the early hours when the veil is thin that we can communicate.

    Lovely words and message...thank you

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  26. Such a song of thanks....I often feel my ancestors calling to me...leading me...comforting me.

    'Ancestors, I feel your strength
    resting in my spine
    that's bending towards the earth.'

    Recently I felt the hands of my father comforting me...it was such a strong presence.

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  27. I like here the connection between ancestors and you, using that language to show the respect you pay to the wisdom and support, aware of them and giving back by promising and telling the heritage stories....bringing the ancient culture to present time.

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  28. How wonderful that you have strong bonds with your ancestors ~ you must have had a close relationship and you still carry them in your heart, lovely.

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  29. A wonderful feeling of support in those old grandmothers.. I love how you have included the Suwaas?ick ?ah example.

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  30. Honoring the memory of those who came before is a wonderful thing. We must share what they teach us.

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  31. A beautiful tribute to those who came before but left a path we might follow,

    Elizabeth

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  32. Our grandmother, our keen are a part of who we are and it is comforting to think that their spirit is with us.

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  33. This is very moving and powerful, Sherry. The vision you have created with your words was conjured forth before me. Mystical - and yet, this wonderful piece simply exudes and celebrates, the joy and mystery of our human connectedness.

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  34. I really like the idea of speaking with "oracles and owls." It's a striking pairing.

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!