Friday, December 14, 2012

The Midden

 image m.theglobeandmail.com


Over the years
in which I walked this land,
watching it slowly return
to its natural state,
I have discovered
I do not walk here
alone.

The day I found the midden,
broken clay pots, arrowheads,
realizing it was a burial mound,
I withdrew,
feeling my presence unwelcome
on such sacred ground.

The land allowed me to explore
its steppes and, over time,
revealed itself to me,
with all its secrets of the past.

It became a touchstone 
for my imaginings
of those long-gone days
upon the land.

There have been times, 
looking up,
when my vision shifted,
to encompass pelt-clad maidens
and braves with feathers in their hair,
moving across the fields 
as they did in days of old.

When next I looked down, 
and up again,
they disappeared.

And I wondered:
was this me, here, being shown
a vision from the past?
Was it a parallel reality, 
occurring alongside mine?
Or was I the odd, 
unfitting apparition
in this landscape
that did not - could not ever-
belong to me?

Was I seeing them in days gone by,
or were they seeing me
as a premonition
of  peril?

In time, with respect, 
being careful not to intrude,
I began to feel their acceptance
of me, there.

But never again could I find
the burial mound.
It had completely
disappeared.

Hannah's Transforming Friday challenge at Real Toads is to write from the point of view of a resident of the prairies. I have read most of Sharon Butala's beautiful books about her life in south west Saskatchewan, including a favorite, Wild Stone Heart. In this book, the author describes her walking of a particular field on her husband's sprawling ranch. They had agreed to allow this field to return to its natural state and she writes of her experiences coming to know this stretch of land. She tells of finding a burial mound one day, on a raised promontory, overlooking the lower landscape. Feeling her presence was intrusive, she quickly withdrew. But she could never find it again.



She tells of having  visions, or somehow being able to see, the aboriginal early dwellers on this land, as they went about their daily lives. Fascinating stuff. She also wrote two other faves, The Perfection of the Morning and Coyote's Morning Cry.

I am behind in commenting, kids, as have been knocked upside the head by fatigue. But I promise I will make my way to all of your blogs in the coming days.

13 comments:

  1. We all should tread as carefully and with respect too but, most of us, don't.
    Lovely read Sherry.
    Hope you feel a bit better today.

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  2. diadem of dimensionality !


    Tu mi porti un miracolo frizzante vacanza alle Hawaii! Grazie

    Weekend Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° >
    > < } } ( ° >
    > < 3 3 3 ( ' >


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  3. Rest my dear friend.

    This offering is a beauty and I'm glad for the pointer toward what sounds like an intriguing story.

    Your poem is striking in the supernatural way of things...the spirit world is real, I believe...

    I love this image:

    "looking up,
    when my vision shifted,
    to encompass pelt-clad maidens
    and braves with feathers in their hair,
    moving across the fields"

    So vivid.

    Thank you for writing! :)

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  4. Sherry,
    In addition to strong imagery and characterization, you add a bit of mysticism for spice. I like the final result. Take it easy, dear friend!

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  5. This is a wonderful tribute to the former owners of the land, written with respect and awareness of the course of history.

    Was I seeing them in days gone by,
    or were they seeing me
    as a premonition
    of peril?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very mystical, Sherry. Amazing that you could not find the burial ground again. Somehow I think it is because you were not meant to. You were gifted with a vision of what was...but will not allowed to see it a second time.

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  7. If you write this way when you're exhausted, you must be formidable if you ever get enough rest.
    Kudos, my friend, you have revealed the prairie's past with honor.
    K

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  8. Beautiful words Sherry ~

    I really enjoy these posts about nature and native land ~ We have so much to learn from their secrets ~

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  9. I love this, Sherry! Beautifully written.

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  10. wow, what a wonderful poem, so full of intrigue. well done

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  11. or were they seeing me
    as a premonition

    I was spellbound!

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  12. ... 'in this landscape that did not - could not ever - belong to me?' You captured the essence of the landscape, it does belong to you.

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  13. I love your poem and this book sounds so intriguing! I sometimes think we should be this way, more respectful. I mean people have fought, lived and died where we stand, walk, etc. Maybe someone was born by the tree you love~ This is a beautiful poem and I love how the spirit moves through us, guides us and reminds us to stand back with respect~

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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!