Hannah, I haven't seen or heard you cry
not in the gray of winter day
or in the cold silence of our prisoner nights,
the others can hardly keep up with you on the marches
your face is changeless as polished steel
and you speak like thunder in the distance...
Would you like me to say that Hell isn't real...
No Hannah, I just want us to survive...
I want tomahawk justice,
I don't blame you for what happened to my baby...
I can still see the way that the winter breath
of your mouth hung in the flurried air
when Martha was killed,
I swear it looked as if it was tinted red,
like a rose breath...
Perhaps it was so,
my heart bled right through me at that moment...
Harold told me
that when we reach the encampment tomorrow
the prisoners are going to be divied up,
given or traded to Abenaki families,
he also said there's no hope
of being rescued by colonial militia...
Old man Thompkin won't be saved either,
they shot him up with arrows this morning...
I am Maska and this is my wife Chepi,
those are my children and squaws,
that man is a hunter fighter, Tuketu,
I own you two now
like hunger owns the body,
we are going to trek about 150 miles
and you two wretches will follow
carrying our belongings with quiet devotion
as the ground carries the snow,
this pale creature is a boy that I captured
from Worcester last autumn
during a raid that left the harvest smoking black
and the English invited to Death's darkest dreams,
his white name is Samuel,
my family calls him sparrow
and he will help with your burdens...
Their ancestral village is near a French fort
and a Catholic Mission, the whole brood of'em
been converted to some sort of bizarre voodoo Catholicism,
don't dare interrupt their prayers
unless you want to feel the meaning of vicious...
Do these people have any sense of mercy Samuel...
If your asking if they'll adopt us into their tribe
or if they'll curse us as chattel
I don't know Mary,
we are their war prizes
and they will celebrate our suffering
one way or the other I'm sure...
What about ritual torture,
has Maska mentioned anything about such things...
Yesterday he told me about an Abenaki custom
of stripping and beating new captives brought to their den,
Maska reveled in the revelation like a wolf feasting,
we've all heard the horrid tales
of wanton murder of captives
whether it be the Iroquois, Algonquin, Wampanoag
or these Indians,
all of these outcomes are possible Hannah,
I don't want to die amongst these people...
Um, yeah Hannah, that's ah,
a bold plan no doubt,
you wanna tomahawk all of'em, all 12 of'em
in the middle of the night
with Mary and I attacking along with you...
Look you two,
we're a few more days away from their rat's nest,
you know that they're casual as rabbits at bedtime,
they're sloppy, they underestimate us grossly,
it hasn't even crossed their minds that we may strike,
the tomahawks and hatchets
are right there for us every night, every night...
Hannah, that means each one of us
would need to kill 4 of them,
and even if we escape we may be caught,
can you fathom the brutality that would befall us...
I'm living in a brutal reality right now,
and if I have a chance to repay and evade these monsters
I'm gonna make it happen with or without you...
Damn Hannah, this is,
this is hardcore...
We've gotta be hardcore if we're gonna leave here alive,
listen, we get the weapons, creep into place
take out the men and boys first
finish the squaws swiftly
get all the food to the canoe
and ride the Merrimack all the way to Boston if need be...
Did you axe holes in the canoe bottoms Sam...
Yeah Hannah, we're ready to sail,
did you see the boy with the birthmark on his cheek
he ran through the woods like a doe on fire...
I know, as I was wedging my hatchet
inbetween the eyes of Tuketu
I saw him flee wildly,
I heard the terror in his soul,
I knew it would be futile to chase him,
if he survives he can tell the tawnies
what white wrath is...
I can't believe how easily their heads fell apart...
I'm proud of you Samuel,
what's in your hands...
I took their scalps Mary,
I ripped their scalps for truth -
This poem is dedicated to, and inspired by the true story
of Hannah Dunston's captivity, ordeal, and heroic escape
from a hostile tribe of Indians in the year 1697, along with her companions
Mary Neff and the 14 year old boy Samuel Leondardson.
Hannah is the first woman in American history
to have a statue made to honor her heroism.
The two reliable accounts of this history that I researched
are Cotton Mather's, A Narrative Of Hannah Dunston's
Notable Deliverance From Captivity,
and the other is from the book,
The First Frontier...Justin A. Bordner
Copyright © Justin Bordner | Year Posted 2017