Saturday, December 19, 2015

When the World Was Young

Wolf
photo by Deborah Steel



In the lifetime before the lifetime before this one,
and again the lifetime before that,
I danced under the blue sky at the sundance,
when I and the world were young.

The beat of the drum sang in my blood
and my feet moved in joy,
      and I danced
          and I danced
as if it would last forever,
when I and the world were young.

The Old Ones smiled on me
with kind eyes, but with sadness, too,
for their dreams foresaw suffering
for the people.

Over in the meadow, grey wolves flitted
in and out among the Standing People, 
paws prancing high,
and the backs of the buffalo carpeted the earth
in the days when I and the world were young.

And now I live again in an alien skin,
in a world grown cold.
The buffalo are gone and all that moves
is made of metal.
And I am an Old One with kind, sad eyes,
watching the young dance in a world gone mad,
and the ancient spirits are crying still,
remembering the days of dancing under the sun
when they and I and the world were young.

Two nights ago I attended young Sebastian's Christmas concert. I have been babysitting him since he was two and he is now a big boy of six. He attends a First Nations school outside of town, where the curriculum instills pride in culture, teaching language, respect of the old ceremonies, and the songs and dances of the Nuu chah nulth people. 

So the concert was a wonder: two hours of song and dance in full hereditary costume. The last dance was named Everything Is One, (what happens to one, happens to all).  As the drums beat, children of all ages twirled and swooped and dove, dressed as hummingbird, eagle, heron. Children wore the pelts of bear, cougar, wolf, and they danced a long, joyous dance of interconnection with all of Mother Earth.

I was, in a word, in heaven. And I knew, as I have always known, that in another lifetime, I was one of the people, for the drum quickens in my blood like a homecoming, and I feel more at home among First Nations than among my own culture. I always have. 

We came out to thick, fat snowflakes falling, the children running with joy, faces upturned to catch the flakes upon their tongues. For them, hope is alive,  and joy is catching snowflakes. For them, the world is still young.


posted for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: Going Back in Time, and for Poets United's Poetry Pantry.


37 comments:

  1. this gives me joy for i too am old with a young heart and soul. my talons still hold firmly on mother earth. in my previous life i could lift and fly at will, soar above my abode to watch o'er the land and those i care. in my sleep, sometimes, i soar which provides me reflection of my life before.

    i so wish nothing but hope for the young, that they may see the fields still green and the wolf howl for joy.

    gracias mi amiga

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  2. "I am an Old One with kind, sad eyes,
    watching ..." And spreading the word. This is my new favorite post. Do you know the Buffy Ste. Marie song "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot"? I'll link it on Facebook.

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    1. Thank you for that link . Powerful poem , moving rendition and beautiful art all I one .

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  3. What a treat this one is Sherry, both the poem and your note...ah the blessed kind sad eyes of the old ones...

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  4. Sherry, I wish you had taken some photos of that Christmas concert. I would have loved to have seen those children in full hereditary costume! I am glad that there are still people who remember "the days of dancing under the sun" and hope that these dances will go on for a long, long time.

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  5. What a wonderful world we have done our best to destroy... I think most of us really do understand, but at the end it would mean giving up some comfort...

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  6. Thanks Sherry Blue Sky , for sharing your gift of poetry .

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  7. This is wonderful, Sherry, almost song-like in the way of ancient ballads. I particularly like the way you brought us to the present, as the speaker expresses the notion of living in an alien skin. Thank you for sharing this amazing experience.

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  8. It has a real 'mists of time' feel to it.

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  9. This certainly is one of your best and speaks for so many of us all over the world. Magnificent.

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  10. We really need to celebrate our heritage and the earth ...beautifully written Sherry,

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  11. You really did inhabit this poem..like a drum beat of your soul joined to place and time..although how fast the cycle seems to turn and we become the older ones watching with sad eyes - sigh...and yet..joy, energy and being...unbeatable! xo

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    1. Your comment added my heart beat to the reading too. Thanks.

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  12. Nice to know more about you via this concert Sherry - such sad lines: "The buffalo are gone and all that moves
    is made of metal."

    Yet the children and their dancing and their joy with snow casts a happy note in this world

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  13. Such a beautiful write Sherry.. truly touched my heart and soul!


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  14. i enjoyed reading this, Sherry. It touches and it teaches.
    truly, what happens to one, happens to all.

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  15. Sherry, this was so beautiful! I attended a Winter's Solstice celebration last night to the sound of wooden flutes and drums. What happens to one happens to all as we are connected in the web of life. Absolutely one of my new favorites of yours.

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  16. Sounds of a wonderful celebration and a most wonderful school to attend. Your description of the poem and the celebration bring the greatest images to the imagination.

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  17. I will tell you a secret, I have been told I was also born among the First Nation...a healing shaman. And I have had visions of that ancient time. Maybe that is why I feel a kindred spirit for you my friend and why your words always bring me joy and tears. Our hope is with the children and the people who honor the land and the life living on the land.

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  18. Hi there Sherry, I found this a deeply spiritual write that made me glow and smile somehow this winter's evening - Thank you... With Best Wishes Scott

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  19. This is so beautifully written, Sherry. Could relate a lot to the poem :)

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  20. I absolutely love this poem! It has such a joyful sadness to it, and the lines abound with such great images and sounds. I especially love your use of repetition. Awesome job!

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  21. Ah, I did so miss your writing...
    ZQ

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  22. Thanks for sharing a wonderful eternity poem

    Seasons Greetings to you and yours

    Much love...

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  23. I saw you dancing when the world was young. You are still dancing on paper my friend. This is beautiful and I love how it made me feel connected. And your back story? Simply proved my sense of things. May your holidays be filled with love and laughter,

    Elizabeth

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  24. This is just unbelievably beautiful, Sherry.

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  25. It is so fulfilling to see those who take efforts to preserve and share. It is more so for oldies like us. It is good to get young people to be aware and be involved. Thanks Sherry

    Hank

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  26. It is so fulfilling to see those who take efforts to preserve and share. It is more so for oldies like us. It is good to get young people to be aware and be involved. Thanks Sherry

    Hank

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  27. How wonderful this poem is! I could feel the beat and hear the soft steps of the children dancing. It is a long way from when the people were encouraged to be white, to turn from their heritage. It is good the children are being taught again to respect heaven and the Mother and that we all are truly one. Perfect for this time of year.

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  28. Thank you,Sherry for sharing! I, too felt the emotion of your words and the sacred drum also is music to my soul. Wonderful, Sherry~ I am happy you went and have guided Sebastian as he has guided you~

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  29. I love this poem Sherry and i can feel how much that evening meant to you. To see young ones dancing with the hope integral to youth is fascinating, though a little sad because of what we know. But maybe they know something we don't.

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  30. I'm glad I came accross this one..thank you

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  31. Love the poem! It feels so sacred to connect with our heritage! ~ thanks for sharing!

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  32. It's wonderful you have that child in your life and you were able to enjoy the connection to your past.

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  33. oh how I like this so, a dip into history and the cycle it turns upon us all:
    "And now I live again in an alien skin,
    in a world grown cold.
    The buffalo are gone and all that moves
    is made of metal." - there's a great cadence to this write too. Great stuff!

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  34. as you may know, I'm much more of a materialist than a spiritual man. I think that when this energy field that keeps my heart beating leaves this conglomeration of atoms, it dissipates into the background aether. That said... I follow the 1st law of thermodynamics, which is that energy is neither created nor destroyed... and so, the drumbeats and the wolves' blood coursing through time may very well have been a part of me now, and after I stop breathing, part of them again. but I ramble... a beautiful pen, Sherry ~

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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!