Erhiawarien Justice Akpesiri
Haida Gwai’i (The Isles Of Lost Appeal) - Poem by Erhiawarien Justice Akpesiri
These are the large cedar poles
Bleached and buffed by the element to a silver-gray
Slowly decaying as they fall
In the largesse of her past
Now shrouded in the mists of a many time
Children of the eagle and raven
In dignity and friendliness
As they are dressed in the finest of sealskin robes
In the potlatches of the winter months
In songs and choruses
Swarming, o so magnificent canoes
And in these she’d raided and traded, unmatched.
These are no days for raid or trade
For these are days of feasting, a day of dancing
A day of songs and of storytelling.
And how now come a chieftain sing—
A solo song of welcome
And from ashore, a many voice and chorus raised.
A people, unique, of the Misty Isles
Split in the Eagle and the Raven clans
Totem poles and teeming crests
In the vastness of her forest home
Clad and carpeted with the sprouts of her many moss
There, where roam the black bear, in the gates of the giant Sitka spruce and hemlock
Broom bushes, the resplendent bloom
Seabirds and falcons, in the steepness of her cliffs
Bald eagles and ravens.
And there come another, upon the peaks of the promontories aloft
A shaman, wise and elderly
And upon the waters, feathers he spread
But no sooner came the white man
There was with him his disease and his alcohol
And the scourges, erstwhile unknown.
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