Robert Charles Howard
Terror In Her Eyes - Poem by Robert Charles Howard
Strolling up the Knife River trail
a dusty cloud swirled and fell
revealing earth lodges by the score
extending down to the shore.
Hidatsa women sang as they toiled,
shucking corn -
cleaning a buffalo hide.
released their ropes
dropping two deer and an elk
to the earth by the hanging rack.
Triumphal shouts from down the bank
turned all heads to the shore
where a warrior band,
fresh from Shoshone fields,
tied up canoes and dragged
their captives up the rise.
A curious crowd circled at once
A quartet of squaws caught
and carried off two of the boys.
A Shoshone girl with terror struck eyes
cringed as a warrior raised his arm.
'No, tell me your Hidatsa name! '
Sobbing she succumbed through broken tears,
'My name is Sacagawea.'
I struggled to breach the walls of time
to meet death in her defense
but a new whirling cloud intervened.
As the dust fell away
all the lodges had vanished.
I knelt down to gently caress
a circular hollow
etched in the Dakota grass.
August 6, 2010
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