As a Child I Prayed it was the Way…#119

 

Image result for Native American women Praying images

As a Child I Prayed, it was the Way…

Knarred pines below the mountain where we lived were living gravestones on the
land we called home high above them was the kudzu-shrouded caves where I played with constant skinned knees, Hoarfrost eyes and long black braids. Below this mountain was hallowed ground and beneath decaying pine needles the bleached bones of my ancestors lay hidden in the mounds.

My Great-grandmother whom we all call “Ma” said the mountain was like a cathedral, a place where she took me every morning to pray, she told me that it was our way. As the night shadows disappeared in the mornings golden rays, we raised our palms toward the sky to bless another day.

Ma’s voice strong and clear begin to chant in her native tongue the words robust and bold; it came from deep within her as if orchestrated by her Soul. Floating across the mountains scarred face her mantra rose to the Great Mystery – her God, she said that I must always honor this sacred place.

She told me that the sounds of a waking earth should reminded us of how the world came to be, her prayers spoke of rebirth and how our Souls would someday be free. We walked through emerald grass damp with morning dew, the unseen breeze kissed our face, and she believed that with the beginning of each morning our life was once again renewed.

We hurried to the creek behind our tarpaper shanty to wash away all of Yesterday’s sorrows. I held her hand wishing that this were how our lives would always be, that I would never grow up and she would never grow old, and it would always be Ma and me. Yes when I was a child my Great-grandmother taught me many lessons about life, it was the way.
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In the Darkness of Night…#117

CHICKASAW NATION SEAL

“To my father and all of our Chickasaw family who walked before him on the Trail of Tears”.

In the Darkness of Night…

I hear the cries of my grandmothers and

grandfathers, I feel their fear; I walk with

them in my dreams on the Trail of Tears.

Their feet bloody as they walked the rutted

trail, every scar on their backs is another

story to tell.

 
They planted crops gave blessing and took

from the land only what they would need, a

word they did not know… greed. Strangers

with pale skin came from the east where

living off the land was unknown; my people

taught them how to live, when no longer

needed the white stranger’s drove them

from their ancestral homes.

 
The Grandfathers and their families stood

tall, their backs they refused to bend so the

white strangers herded them like cattle to

a far off land… to die in the hot barren sand.

My people believed the land belonged to no

one, given to all by the “Great Mystery”; still

they died with broken souls never knowing

that their story in time covered the blood-

splattered pages of history.

 
My people watched as women gave birth

and warriors carried the dead, the children

went to sleep hungry with the ground as their

bed. The day came when these great people

corralled on dry barren land, given musty

water and bug-infested corn meal to eat,

in a place with no hope, to the white man

they were bound; a killing field where the

blood of my family spilled upon the ground.

 
I hear you my grandmothers and grandfathers,

your cries do not go unheard in the darkness

of night; for in my dreams I walk with you,

I feel your fear; I wake each morning with the

taste of your tears.

 

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Infinite Hope…#116

I live in a senior housing complex, although the bodies are aging and most minds are unclear I watch as those around me live their last days with an attitude that the young does not have for the wisdom of these people comes with years of experience in living. It is the holidays that are filled with sadness when memories come flooding back; they send many to places that they visited long ago. I embrace living with the varied personalities and ages. I chose to live in harmony with those much like me, yet I see many who have given up on life, I find it a tragedy. For those I wrote this poem.

 

Infinite Hope…

What does one do in these bad times, my mind that of an old woman, I clear my soul each day. It is in old age that we try to be kind, in younger days we walk through life without worry and blind. Youth to old age, life passionate and wild, yet within time the elderly returns to the days of a child. I do not ask from my bed of death to be free, I do ask that my God let me die in dignity.

I ask that death allow me to find the freedom that my life denied; that I am strong when my family is at my side. Spare me of the whisperings of a crowded room, that there be a ceremonious air and not one that is gloom. I have lived without glory or fame; no one will remember my name. No one knows when I am bound for death, only God knows when I will take my last breath.

While the world around me in silence lies, move me outside so I can see sunshine once more before I die. Let it bathe me in the wonder that I was born, across my face its beauty spread, like the sun I ask only for your smiles of love when I am dead. I pray for no sickroom, no mortal strife, no turmoil for a little breath, let it be a natural passing, no struggling with death.

Let me go composed, fearless, mind clear, willing to let my spirit go somewhere else to wait for everyone that to me is so dear.

 

 

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