Heroine

Many have heroes, it is true.

Costumed and cloaked are some.

Many others wear a uniform.

Those brave men who serve

and sacrifice for their cause.

 

Me, I have a heroine, or two

maybe as many as a dozen.

Most are lost to memory, faded.

Some stood by her man, others

stood alone holding life together.

 

My great grandmother rode here

on these prairies grand, sidesaddle.

She rode toting pistol and carrying babe.

Her grace and courage paved the way

for the pretty girls who came safely later.

 

She wasn’t alone on these prairies you know.

She had sisters from edge to edge, age to age.

Some rode free, some dug deep, all fought hard.

All made their way in a land that killed their men,

stole their babies and their dreams. They stayed.

 

I have freedom to roam, and to be what I want.

Not because a man said I could, oh no.

But because they first walked the way I do.

Heroine to me for taking the untrod path

she walked, rode and she didn’t stop.

 

A poet can be in prison’d for seven years.

What prison would we be in if not for the

pioneer women who made the way possible?

Their sisters  in the tribes made their way too!

The story is not really that of a lady, be sure.

 

Their story is one of blood, tears, grief and joy.

They learned to fight battles with more than guns,

they fought just by staying there, staying alive.

They fought with books for churches and schools.

Making a new path and leaving a trail behind.

 

Heroine, heroine –  how I long for your courage.

Heroine, heroine – how I long for your grace.

Heroine, heroine – how I long for your strength.

I follow her path, and make new ones as I go.

I reap her legacy and honour her memory.

 

Dedicated to my great grandmothers who came to this country in covered wagons and afoot, my grandmothers who came here to start anew from an old country that no longer wanted them.  For the Cree and Kootaney elders who don’t remember they told me the stories, but I promise not to forget.  For the woman of color who wouldn’t stop moving to the place where it didn’t matter.  Thank you for what you’ve given us.  Copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski

 

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