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Poem for the Penokee Hills

Nov. 11, 2013
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Poem for the Penokee Hills


The path ways are so true and tight to the earth

And there are people forever lost who cannot bind them

They come ready with snapping dogs across the mountains

Their faces clouded beyond all recognition


Now they pass into the land of wild rice and berries

Where the seeds are tumbling into the inner sea

Little People throwing their gifts onto northern strands


And Thunder has called this from the willing heavens

In forms of ancient thought thrown onto the shore


Here is the sharp grieving time for spirit

When in our lifetimes the sacredness of the land

As long as the moon has made sensate the waves

And the hawk is crying far overhead


Ages torn apart through those not born of the land

And now the day is crisp their eyes cast here

The slow water of earth is blue as deep stars

Passing through the porous web of the stone


Grandmother Spider is running with the wolves

The Old Ones are just younger than the stones


Our lives come dancing before us just within our sight

In this forest the smoke drifts in time

Rivers and stones are carrying the life of earth


The invaders from afar say they have ill temper

In this world they never would have created

Their fear wafts beyond all understanding

In the true life of the hills as the seasons wait their turn



Jim Stevens is a poet of Seneca heritage living in northern Wisconsin. His recent collection, The Book of Big Dog Town was published by Fireweed Press. He will be reading with Roberta Hill at Woodland Pattern Book Center on November 21.


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