Sunday, September 5, 2010

Audio Poem (Is It Your Blood?...)

(Larry Nicholson)


in these children
as they lark in the shallow water of the river
oblivious to old words
and so much time

these shiny-haired children at play
some named after you,
some with your eyes
these sons and daughters of darkness and light
carrying our best hopes, vague as they may be
that here, 100 years on
things might be different

to sit and look upon the young at their brilliant best
is to hear echoes of you in their laughter
it is to remember time out of mind
before a cavalcade of others
and their rush for gold – their lust
left so many of the brightest trampled underfoot

Is it your blood?

in dense sagebrush, sun-baked hills
and coursing through steel-head streams
that moves us to demand an accounting of things
to cling to the notions behind words that read:
they might do the square thing by us in the end

some days it takes a kind of strength
to remember (or believe)
that there ever was a day when hearts were warm
when all the country was so much more
than just pieces of land

to sit quiet and listen for the rush of water
is to seek your whispered words
learn your hard lessons
know the quiet victories
of you the peaceful soldiers of nameless nights
many times without place to rest your thoughts

100 years on
we know the tongues of angels and the tongues of men
we ride the ribbon highways
walk the golden valleys
see the endless sky-way
we leave our own impressions
spread across silver sand and diamond desert

we form markers and monuments
so others may know something of the sacred trust
that lies before us all

we find ourselves, at times, in the border towns of despair
asking what it is to regret what you’ve done
when you’ve never had a choice
(forgetting there is only one thing we must do)
thinking that somehow we needed to nurse your wounds
heal your hurts, soothe your aches
losing sight of the fact
that as you surge through these veins
we are your prayers answered

Is it your blood?

that sounds in the windy voice of conscience
that resonates louder and more deeply
with each passing hour
each passing day
each passing life

that reminds us the land is not merely a stage
upon which mountains, rivers and forests are simply props
little places, set pieces, where we play out our human drama

this land lives
surely as i walk and talk and take you with me
some days the best i can do is resist the urge to sit back
and curse being caught between overlapping nightmares

Is it your blood?

that remind us
that children raised to revere this land as the domain of spirits
will not be the same as ones brought up to cut the land –
to tame it

there is no wilderness but what is in the heart
if you know this country as the people do

long, long after there are any voices
to ask these questions
there is just your good blood
coursing throughout

i raise my arms to the night time sky –
the great nation that is the sky
where you glimmer in constellations

where the only darkness is in not knowing
that we are lost…

only in wonder

Vancouver, July 27, 2010

© 2010 Champsteen Publishing

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