Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chants for the Equinox

Medicine Bag
from First People Shops

Thanks to my friend Eve
who saved this page for me
from The Atlantic Monthly, way back in April 1986:

Feather Bag, Stick Bag

This five strands bear hair in a split match,
this a bout seeing two at love kindle my heart.
How much you pay to hear the rest?

This willow stick red thread tied
be that song before Eve wore shame,
before God pluck the garden key out Adam's mouth.
How much you pay to hear it all?

That ship, mother, go down singing.
You hold feather of the bird that told me
how they all sang when water closed.
You pay me now, I sing it.

Feather bag, stick bag, this little bone
worry me honest about my people
waiting for me pull the skein of that road
all the way out my fist and be done.
They wait, I sing, you pay, that road
ravel me out.

Dust and water, winter road. Feather
bag, stick bag, bone bag, all I had
when dust and water been my food.
Not so always. This blue scrap
be ribbon silk, and wrapped inside
she hides, she laughs my song.
Your money jingle out why.

Feather bag, stick bag -- see this
penny my anvil hammer pounded flat?
This the song I sing about you
if you don't buy my songs.

Hah! Feather bag, stick bag, bone bag.

by American poet & essayist Kim R. Stafford (b. 1949)

Medicine Wheel Drum with Stick
by Native Life Creations

Thanks to my friend Marguerite
for sharing this one when it appeared
as the Poetry Foundation "Poem of the Day" on 3 April 2015:

A Knocker

There are those who grow
gardens in their heads
paths lead from their hair
to sunny and white cities

it's easy for them to write
they close their eyes
immediately schools of images
stream down from their foreheads

my imagination
is a piece of board
my sole instrument
is a wooden stick

I strike the board
it answers me

for others the green bell of a tree
the blue bell of water
I have a knocker
from unprotected gardens

I thump on the board
and it prompts me
with the moralist's dry poem

by Polish poet & essayist, Zbigniew Herbert (1924 - 1998)
from Selected Poems, translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott

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