There are 14 such writers whom we might on that basis call American poets they had actually been to America and to different degrees, written poems or verses about the place. Early examples include a "testimonial poem" on the sterling warlike character of Captain John Smith in Barbour, ed. William Morrell's "Nova Anglia" or "New England," which is a rhymed catalog of everything from American weather to glimpses of Native women, framed with a thin poetic "conceit" or "fiction" characterizing the country as a "sad and forlorn" female pining for English domination. Then in May Thomas Morton of Merrymount — an English West Country outdoorsman, attorney at law, man of letters and colonial adventurer — raised a Maypole to celebrate and foster more success at this fur-trading plantation and nailed up a "Poem" and "Song" one a densely literary manifesto on how English and Native people came together there and must keep doing so for a successful America; the other a light "drinking song" also full of deeper American implications.
On this particular March day inTheodore Facepaint, who was nine years old, agreed to do a parody. With hand balanced on hip and the left leg slightly in front of the right, my newly found friend positioned himself on Sand Hill before turning to face the hazy afternoon sun.
This was a pose we had become familiar with: When I projected the image of the color 35 mm slide onto the wall last week I remembered the sense of mirth in which it was taken. Yet somewhere slightly north of where we were clowning around, Grandmother was uprooting medicinal roots from the sandy soil and placing them inside her flower-patterned apron pockets to thaw out.
Twenty-nine years later, if I look long enough, existential symbols are almost detectable. The direction of the fiery sun in descent, for example, is considered the Black Eagle Child Hereafter.
Could I be seeing too much? Past the west and into the Grandfather World? When I look closely at the background of the Indian Dam below—the horizontal line of water that runs through the trees and behind Ted—I also know that Liquid Lake with its boxcar-hopping light is nearby.
For Ted and his Well-Off Man Church, the comets landed on the crescent-shaped beach and lined themselves up for a ritualistic presentation. For Jane Ribbon, a mute healer, a seal haunted this area. But further upriver is where the ancient deer hunter was offered immortality by three goddesses.
While the latter story of our geographic genesis is fragmented, obscuring and revealing itself as a verisimilitude, it is important. Ted and I often debated what we would have done had we been whisked through a mystical doorway to a subterranean enclave.
Ted, unlike the ancient hunter who turned down paradise, would have accepted— and the tribe never would have flexed its newborn spotted wings.
But the question being asked today is, Have we kept anything? Our history, like the earth with its abundant medicines, Grandmother used to say, is unfused with ethereality. In me, in Ted, and everyone. Stories then, like people, are subject to change.
More so under adverse conditions. They are also indicators of our faithfulness. She was also attuned to the fact that for generations our grandparents had wept unexpectedly for those of us caught in the blinding stars of the future.
Mythology, in any tribal-oriented society, is a crucial element. Without it, all else is jeopardized with becoming untrue. Most fabled among the warnings is the one that forecasts the advent of our land-keeping failures.
Many felt this began last summer when a whirlwind abruptly ended a tribal celebration. From the north in the shape of an angry seagull it swept up dust. At the last second the whirlwind changed direction, going toward the tribal recreation complex. Imperiled, the people within the circus tent- like structure could only watch as the panels flapped crazily.Sri Aurobindo William Blake Sri Chinmoy Emily Dickinson Hafiz Robert Frost John Keats Rumi William Shakespeare () William Wordsworth Walt Whitman.
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