Saturday, May 1, 2021

A gift to be shared

If, like me, you aren't able to watch all of this at once, don't let that stop you from beginning to watch.  Although, knowing that your lives are full, I was going to recommend simply watching the part where Rena Priest speaks, now I recommend watching the entire 90 minutes.  Every moment of the Lummi portion of the ceremony, which took place not far from where I live, moved me deeply in one way or another.

“There is a secret medicine given only to those who hurt so hard they can't hope. The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.” - Rumi 

(quoted by Rena Priest during the ceremony)

Here is more of her poetry, which includes this poem:


After Wordsworth


The Indigenous poet

writes life-affirming poems

about daffodils.

Her audience says,

“But you’re oppressed.”

The Indigenous poet

writes poems of outrage

about oppression.

Nobody cares.

She gets depressed.

The Indigenous poet

gets requests for poems

about being Indigenous.

“But, all my poems are

about being Indigenous.”

The Indigenous poet

isn’t considered

an Indigenous poet,

because, “Shouldn’t you

write about genocide?”

The Indigenous poet

tries to write poems

about genocide.

Her poet spirit dies.

(Genocide gets the job done.)

The Indigenous poet says,

“Stang tse temxwila!”*

and writes about daffodils,

and the untouchable beauty

of living a poet’s life


* “What the hail.” This is the closest we get to a swear word in 

Xwlemi Chosen (Lummi Language).


Anonymous said...

Love that poem. Thank you for sharing it. I will try to watch the video soon.

37paddington said...

What an absolutely beautiful and true poem. Thank you. I will be back to watch the video.