One more hand

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Preamble: on Saturday Mary had us thinking about ‘the other hand’ for Poetics at dVerse (check it out here). I missed getting my post in before the linky closed, so I am sharing a poem with that prompt for dVerse Open Link Night (#OLN). Enjoy!

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Tevye sang on the other hand until I lost count of the hands he needed.

One thing and another.  On the other hand. Or was it the other other hand?

Pick one. Pick a favorite. How I wish I could.  On the other hand, maybe not.

The winter is cold and drags on. On the other hand we don’t get hurricanes!

Tweeting about talking today. On the other hand maybe someone will talk.

My muse is out in the cedar tree with the birds. Singing out of sight.

Some things can’t be captured, they are meant to be enjoyed.

Balancing options, evaluating paths. What about this. Or that.

Soon I run out of on the other hand and know I have to choose.

 

Scratch that! I won’t throw away the words. Don’t offend the muse.

On the other hand, is bad poetry still poetry? Suckage is relative.

Did you know that 80’s rock isn’t very good for original poetry?

On the other hand, it is awesome for dancing and singing to!

I don’t know where we are going, or when, limbo is so strange.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t miss this adventure for anything!

Praying for broken hearts and praising in the hallway.

On the other hand we have much to be thankful for.

Thankful for what makes us stronger, what passes us by.

On the other hand I fight against that which I can’t change.

It’s futile, I know, running back to a closed gate.

On the other hand sometimes I can be a hard learner.

We are told to praise in the hallway, waiting can be so hard!

On the other hand He never said not to make windows.

 

Birth of a legend

They say men won the west, they may have but women kept the heart beat alive!

Kokum teaches us that the man is the head but no head lives long without a heart.

A lady of the west she was! Unknown to most, but to us she was magical!

She Who Rides Alone was always brave. Her courage honoured her family.

Side saddle breaking colts! Can you imagine it son? Never saw her astride.

Her wagons always held such good food for her people. A spirit of sharing.

Bucked the pins outta her hair they say, but she didn’t lose her seat! No sir.

She was tall and straight, like a young pine. Her smile like later winter sun.

Jumped fences on that mule! Drove a painted team. Drove field draft too.

Our People kept her ways clear. The Kainai thought us unwise, cowardly.

No drover could meet her courage hauling her wagon loads home.

The Kainai stopped her one day, wanted to take her food. Her horses.

Where’s Nell? Gone to town. Alone? Nah she has the horses with her.

They tell of her grey eyes, like first frost of fall, and then the fire spoke.

It was a befuddlement to them all why she never had no trouble. Ha!

Her skirts they thought hid treasure to take. A woman weak. No warrior.

Like Annie Oakely! Calamity Jane! True grit she showed them injuns.

She did not stop or slow her wagon. Her horses walked like the great ice.

Where she got that gun, Albert he never said to me. He just smiled so sly.

Her voice was soft but strong. A wide willow branch. One word. NO.

They tell it, them who heard it later, that she kept on driving through ’em.

And in her hand the fire spoke, the men’s gun alive in a woman’s hand.

They never seen something like that. That gal Nell held her own for sure.

One shot. One word. She went on. No man fell. No horse fell. Their spirits fell.

We heard the shot, who didn’t? By the time we came a running it was long done.

Their insides became weak like tea water. They never came back here again.

She didn’t say much. Just that she runned ’em off with Jesus and Samuel Colt.

 

 

Brian has us playing with story telling and tall tales. This one is the same story told by two tellers to two audiences. One a cowboy relating the tale around the chuck fire and the other by an Elder of the Cree nation to their young people.  The awe of a young white man met by the respect of a Cree elder. The woman, and the story, are mostly true. Embellished a bit from stories told to me about the mother of my Great Grandmother who came to Canada in a covered wagon and farmed, broke horses and tended her family with grace, courage and love. She was a tall Scots woman, grey eyed and likely to outward appearances quite stern. But she rode horses with abandon, and faced life head on with courage so I suspect there was a spirit there that had a wry sense of humor as well.  The Cree and Kainai (Blackfoot) fought often along their borderlands, with their last great battle being a rout on the home turf of the Blackfood by the raiding Cree. The Canadian West has some rich history, no?

 

Check out the rest of the poets at dVerse!

 

 

mêkwayâhtik ᒣᑲᐧᔮᐦᑎᐠ

When I was growing up trees were precious.

Almost family. They were cherished. Loved.

Each year on the bare plains we’d plant them.

Hundreds sent from the government program.

“Shelter belt” planting they called it. We just

said it was hard work. Planting trees in the soil

that wanted nothing to do with their roots or

needs. The soil wanting to grow grass and blow

across the skies in the summerfallow winds.

Little dams, shelters of cedar shakes and water.

We watered and weeded. Watered and weeded.

Some lived. Most died. We kept trying.

 

Fast forward some years. To river valleys. Full of

trees. Trees growing tall sheltering herons, hawks,

eagles and water fowl. Felled by winds, and dragged

down by floods. Each one a cottonwood of rotten

heart or a bended stubborn willow. No spruce or

pine to scent the air. Cottonwood fluff, sticky

pods everywhere in spring. And leaves.

 

Seeing them for the first time, red woods, was awe.

I looked up and up and up and the tops swayed.

Vertigo took me and I reached out to hold on.

And it was then that I felt the heart of the tree.

The warmth of sun on bark, the hum of insects.

The chatter of birds. The smell of pitch. Sticky.

Pinching bruised branches of cedar. Chewing

on willow bark. Brushing the branches of silver

willow as we ride looking for the cows.

 

Trees grow here at the drop of a hat. Sometimes

they drop the hat and grow if you are to slow

in mowing the lawn or grazing the pasture.

They grow and grow and wait to take back

their land from the humans and their cutting

kind. Like the Ents they surge ever forward

waiting to take back what was once theirs.

Even the bedrock is not immune to their

seeking roots. Massive rocks crack, fill

and then the seed sets. Grows. Cracks.

 

Dams abandoned. Indestructible to the

tools of human kind, fall stone by stone

to the roots of a maple sapling, to the

questing reach of the trailing roots of pine.

Four pages of words about trees in Cree.

Phrases, sayings, things we do and eat.

Women chew birch bark patterns.

Their mouths telling stories in each bite.

Art work for all to see and so few to

understand. The vast plains ache for the

trees that were taken from their coulees and

draws. Pioneers desperate for wood, dug

deep and made due with sod and dried

manure. Longing for the luxury of trees.

Ukrainian settlers chose the lands with trees.

After all in their homeland the trees

were the property of the rich, the important.

Their value stood tall and proud, rooted.

 

The big farms hate corners. They hate to turn.

The plow down the old homesteads. The

carefully tended old windbreaks and shelter

belts burned and rolled under. A few acres

more to put into grains and oilseeds. And

yet each spring their kind spring up, early.

They tangle up the implements and I quietly

cheer them on. Go trees! Grow trees! Go!

 

A tree hugger to the core, I adore them from

root to thorn, bramble to bloom. sap to fruit.

Trees must be a part of my genetic memory.

They are wound tight around my DNA like

the tangled roots of a spruce tree. Holding

on to the side of a mountain. Taking it down

one crack at a time.  Breaking it into soil.

 

Bjorn has us writing about trees over at dVerse. And I’m afraid this got a bit epic. I was overwhelmed with ideas and just started writing, letting the thoughts and ideas flow. This is my rambling poetic thoughts about trees. And I may do a part two or three, even four!

 

mêkwayâhtik ᒣᑲᐧᔮᐦᑎᐠ

Among the trees.

http://visionquest.pagc.sk.ca/index.asp?page=4&m=1&ln=1

Birch Bark Biting

Chasing Rabbits

She sleeps hard.

Tired from chasing.

Running after scents

rising and flowing on

the ever moving winds.

Her legs and brain

run still, after the

elusive and so

scented lures.

She waits by the window.

Shadows of birds fly by her

on the blind, tail twitches and

she is ready to pounce! Wise old

cat knows the window is there so

she chooses the wise path, and has

a sunbeam warmed nap. She dreams.

 

We are playing with verbs tonight at dVerse. Watching the dog and the cat today inspired me. They are so very vibrant when they are playing and chasing, dedicated to their fun. And then they fall asleep with such utter disregard for anything else, naps rule when play is done. So we step around them quietly, their feline and canine sprawl, and are slightly envious. To have that freedom…ah!

Outside my window

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Outside my window winter lingers long.

Birds eat and rest, fluff and bring me song.

Outside my window the wind blows strong.

We stay inside, warm and safe where we belong.

Outside my window adventures and chores come along.

We bundle up and brace ourselves – oh be strong!

Outside my window a warm day temps invisible long.

We dress up and head outside to laugh to the wind song.

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th Charge the batteries, and get the quad going strong.

Tie the ropes to to the hood, hold on boys, we gone!

Charge the batteries, and get yourself going along.

Roll in the snow, dance in the drifts and sing a fun song.

Charge the batteries, and get past the windows long.

Get outside and find out where in the winter we can belong.

Charge the batteries, the sun is hiding but warmth is on!

Wind may blow but cheeks will glow, we love this winter song.

Charge the batteries, get fired up to play along.

We are gonna be wet and cold and happy, c’mon!

I’m hosting at dVerse for #Poetics, and we are writing about what we see outside our windows. I’m late linking up due to technical difficulties last night, and the temptation of a warm day to play outside today! 🙂 Forgive me for being tardy, I’ll be by to visit your posts. Thank you for coming to visit mine!

Warmer Weather coming

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Puffed up against the cold, feathered friends await the spring sun.

Packed up the Christmas tree, I can’t help but wonder where next we’ll be.

Minus 20 seems warm after weeks of 30 below: winter woes.

Frozen ears, tail and feet, wincing at his pain. He purrs. He is alive.

Fight the cold. Fight the faltering of faith. Live to seek the sun. The Son.

Warmer weather coming. A promise on a radar map. Skeptic waits.

Much to be done. Little desire to do. The battle rages inside.

Jack’s compass I need to see, my heart’s longing to lead me – but where?

 

A little late to the pub for the post holiday season #OLN (Open Link Night) for dVerse. Stop by and read some poetry. Share your own. Leave love. Always leave love.