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Attawapiskat: Orphans of the Stone and Sky

Chris D. Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail Go to Poets Blog Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled Attawapiskat: Orphans of the Stone and Sky which was written by poet Chris D. Aechtner. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Attawapiskat: Orphans of the Stone and Sky

Salt-bleached roads merge into a horizon
of snow-clouds pregnant with similar shades of gray.

On television sets, the media squawks loudly
about one of the most affluent suburbs in the world
having been touched by flood during the night.
O! We must come together,
help restore the water-damaged basements
of 1.5 million-dollar homes.
Has the Great Mother no sympathy,
as she continues to unleash her stormy wrath?

Behind the back of a 3rd World town
nestled in the bosom of 1st World commodities,
outsiders whisper of possible mismanaged aid,
of faulty tribal council audits,
while on our land, foreign companies break open the earth,
extracting our Mother's vital organs,
selling blood diamonds to the very people 
with water-damaged 1.5 million-dollar homes....
....maybe the sparkle of a new necklace
will assuage the waiting-period of insurance policies.
Yes, people whisper behind our backs 
about the burden of hand-outs,
while our land subsidizes the entire nation.

But self-pity and envy will not serve us true,
for the widely beaten path 
leads towards more conditioned lies and empty eyes.

Above, the burgeoning snow-clouds
are filled with much potential energy
waiting to be released, just as we are.
If we arise from the swampy, damp ashes
as a phoenix whose wings are dried by courage-breath,
we must act with grace,
live by the golden rule,
treat our oppressors with a dignity
not offered to us in the first place.

To settle for less, 
is to settle for a searing brand of Oji-Cree hypocrisy -
the widely beaten path of conditioned lies and empty eyes.
We, the Orphans of the Stone and Sky,
must rise as graceful Warriors,
must rise to not only protect our own future,
but the future of all children.

We arrived from the Stone and Sky with grace,
so shall we live, so shall we depart, 
and again, so shall we return.


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  1. Date: 8/7/2013 3:41:00 PM
    .and my favorite part, if I may quote, is your little section after the longer stanzas: "But self-pity and envy will not serve us true, for the widely beaten path leads towards more conditioned lies and empty eyes." That's such a rich little stanza. I only quote one section, but the entire thing is very moving. As you can see I very much enjoyed it. Thanks. Always, Laura

  1. Date: 8/7/2013 3:39:00 PM
    I do not know why I glazed over this title when I was looking at your list of poetry! Anyhow, it finally caught my eye! Let me digest this...I do like how you introduce Attawapiskat(or at least I think you do) and then dive into what we are familiar with--and then back again into the third world. That's really cool and it had a big effect on me.. ----

  1. Date: 7/4/2013 12:09:00 AM
    How strange that of all your poems I selected this one to read and there it was...that Phoenix rising. There is much to digest in this beautiful poem. First impressions are drawn to the empathy and inequalities. will fav this one to read over. Thanks for writing SuZ

  1. Date: 3/27/2013 9:25:00 PM
    You do really sophisticated and complex things..I'm envious of this one...this is just oozing with wonderful words and ideas. 'Organs' and 'blood diamonds'. Your message is razor sharp but allows space for the work to breathe in a really magnificent way. So, kudos, sir.

  1. Date: 2/20/2013 2:15:00 PM
    Wisdom from a well tempered warrior - I agree with your ethic Chris, and all the egregious hypocrisy surrounding us must be contested with aplomb aggression for sure - mercy is surely a strength my friend - where I live the environment is practically artic right now and thus I really admire & understand your beautiful descriptions of deep Winter and all it's power - the Hawks too - J.A.B. %

  1. Date: 2/12/2013 7:03:00 PM
    I love the fact that you are not afraid to speak your mind, and tell it like it is......but always in an intelligent, thoughtful, and articulate manner, and that you speak the truth. I am never disappointed, often in awe ...your talent is never wasted. (even when speaking of reptile !!)

    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner
    Date: 2/12/2013 10:19:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Carrie, those are some very kind words! Thank you.
  1. Date: 2/7/2013 4:34:00 AM
    Oh this as made my day, the media, the carriers of disdain, and the masters point of view,, set the theme here, for what is truly amazing truth and poetry..i've run out of adjectives for you Chris,, but my heart and mind for ever will soak up you and your poetrry...please first word of title, explain...

    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner
    Date: 2/12/2013 10:17:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Harry, I am glad if you enjoyed this poem. Thank you for your constant encouragement over the last several years.
  1. Date: 2/6/2013 12:18:00 AM
    wow, Chris, this is a very good poem. I am not nearly rich by any means and yet I just know that there are many in the world who would be so grateful to have the things I am able to enjoy everyday. this poem really puts it all in perspective. So much attention paid to us whimpering first world country peoples, while so much are suffering thanks to our excesses!

    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner
    Date: 2/12/2013 10:16:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thank you for the read, Andrea, and yes, you reinforced part of the theme well in your comment.
  1. Date: 2/3/2013 11:19:00 AM
    I was amused by your reference to New York as a suburb of the world. :-) There is of course rightful reproach of the "foreign companies." Thanks for visiting my own page this morning. And, I shall visit more of yours!

    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner
    Date: 2/12/2013 10:11:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    And I am amused if you associated a reference to New York. Such an association can work well for this poem. I was going for any affluent suburb anywhere in the world. Thank you for the visits to my poems.
  1. Date: 2/3/2013 5:10:00 AM
    Excellent poem, Chris. I love the ending the best. Yes...they are the takers...Hugs, Catie :)

    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner
    Date: 2/12/2013 10:08:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Catie, I am glad if you enjoyed the ending, especially considering how it was written in some of my usual, plodding manner.