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The Ghost Dance, Part VI


Black Elk said: "A peoples' dream died there... it was a beautiful dream. The Nation's hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the Sacred Tree is dead."

The People were not taken up,
Nor did they die.
They lingered through time and the march of progress,
As most fell into step, shedding all they'd been,
To drift along with the tide.

But for the many who held on in the Feverland,
Where chenge came slowly, if at all,
Their wrinkles grew deeper, eyes clouding
Likes skies heavy with storm,
Visions wavering ephemerally,
Seeing like ghosts,
Becoming ghosts.
Their dream is long dead
But the memory of it lingers smouldering
As unquiet ashes in unsteady hearts.
In the quiet of the blackest nights,
Or in the stillness that preceeds the dawn,
If one listens closely, with committed heart
One may hear the faint echoes
Like the cries of some bird
Unimaginably distant.

The fire is out, only hope goes on smoking 
As ever, the last ember to die.
The old gaze out onto the mesas,
Watching the sun paint them red as it sets,
Listening the while for other sounds from other times,
Dreaming sweet dreams when they doze.

     And when the rare rains fall,
     Settling the choking dust,
     Some who went to the White Schools remember
     The shortest verse of the White Man's Book:

     Jesus wept.

Does He weep now, supplicant before His Father's throne?
Imploring mercy for His adopted Brothers,
Betrayed as He was Himself betrayed?

Are these drops from the sky His tears,
Or only rain?

The old men,
Less learned,
Ponder this verse of their own:

          The old men
          The Earth only
          You spoke truly,
          You are right.

Copyright © William Masonis | Year Posted 2016


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