Sit somewhere quiet
Calm your logical brain
Prime your heart
Relax and read between the lines
Sit and think on it
Then go for a walk and think some more
Now read it again
As with a story told by an Elder, the meaning drawn from the poem depends on the reader
My hair smells of sweetgrass
And my belly is full with tea, and berry soup, stew and bannock
My feet remember the rhythm of the round dance drum
Even if it took all day to find it
And I am grateful for the gifts of stories and opportunity
This girl away from home, always seeking, embraced by a new circle and Elders willing to claim her and teach her
I got derailed by a poem that hurt my heart and made me cry
And, no, I won’t share it yet because it’s still too raw
So here, instead, is a poem about seeking a poem
It’s the place I smash into 10 000 piecesAnd my me is carried away on the faintest breeze
And I get to live in my heart and lungs and legs
Instead of in my head
Fish tank, gurgles,
Dog nails click over hardwood,
Silence, thick, descends
Dreams live in places with people.What if what keeps us up at night isn’t the blue light from our devices but dreams longing for somewhere to live?
I’m taking a break from poetry on day 12 of my regularly scheduled poetry adventure to explore being stalked by stories, an idea shared with me by a colleague and a wonderful teacher to me in the midst of delving into boxes of artifacts with Saa’kokoto.
Stalked by stories; that lessons the listener needs will stalk us through stories until we learn them.
Moments when the elusive feeling of knowing how the story goes are like vapour that slip through my fingers and the tighter I grasp at them the more elusive they are. But there is a cumulative effect of stories and the ability to see the connections. The knowing how the story goes doesn’t ever last long, but the brief glances are pure brilliance. Read all the stories. Listen to all the stories. Learn all the stories. Only in looking back do the stories begin to connect.
I see the value as a teacher in loading my students full of stories and all the context possible in the hopes they, too, will look back and see the connections and pay them forward. Today, I am the recipient of enormous gifts and my heart is full while the scent of sweetgrass lingers in my hair. And I am obsessed by the stories that continue to stalk me. I am the lucky recipient of these stories today. And for today, at least, I know how the story goes.
Thomas King writes: “The truth about stories, is that’s all we are.” And borrowing the words of a writer whose words have endured for me is about as poetic as I can get today, friends.