Singing Woman Lake - Poem by Michael Sweetbird
The language of my people is difficult for you to understand:
So I will write this in your tongue.
‘Singing Woman Lake’ is my people's name for her;
But she is known by you as, ‘Rhapsody In Blue’.
Always a song was on her waters calling to us:
To rise up in the morning;
To eat our morning meal facing her;
To hunt along the hem of her skirt;
To fish, to swim, to dance;
To eat our evening meal listening to her wisdom;
To sit beside her and tell our stories;
To sleep beneath the evening star.
Always a beautiful scent was on her waters:
Of wild Roses;
Of pine and fir;
Of apple and cherry;
Of children bathing;
Of young beavers;
Of deer browsing;
Of women washing.
Always a pause in her singing was noticed:
A morning star rising;
A husband and wife standing beside her, raising their hands to
the sky and praying;
A dove’s feather floating;
A bird skimming;
A fish in the air before it splashed;
A heron walking;
A silence between the hoots of two owls.
But now your people have replaced ours; and our Singing Woman who is your Rhapsody has changed:
Her waters are oiled and brown and poisoned;
Her shores, except for your houses and cabins, are bare of life;
Her scent is death;
Her song wails a widow’s lament for her husband, he who was all life
around her, within her and above her.
Her song sings an arrow of vengeance into the liver of those of
you who bathe in her;
Her song sings a spear of vengeance into the livers of those of you in
your cities who use the poison waters which flow from her;
Her song sings rejoicing that soon her poisoned waters will set her
free of you and your viperous broods who murdered her husband;
Her song sings a slow return of my people, who were the first
people, and who will be the last.
Singing Woman Lake is every lake upon which your people dwell and every lake from which you draw your water:
From her song of vengeance pours every river from which you draw water which is now toxic;
From her song of lament seeps poison into your wells;
From her rejoicing comes rain which is acid;
From her scent of death comes plague upon plague;
From her calling to you, you will be drawn to her;
From her music in your ears comes lulling to deceive your senses;
From her you will receive your judgement.
If it is not too late for you now, it soon will be; unless you take upon yourselves the Spirit of life and restore Singing Woman to her rightful position on the wedding altar of purity.
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