Sunday, April 9, 2017

of Walden Pond, the Cherokee, and the natural world

all the elders

many cultures honor the elders
and open themselves to the stories
that further open them to leadings,
leadings which deepen who they are,

I think that’s what Thoreau felt
when he left Concord for a time
for Walden Pond and its woods,
to be as apprentice
to the mastery of the forest,

a few days ago we walked around Walden Pond
to get some good aerobics
and to ground ourselves in that place,

we then fly back to N.C. and drive to the Smokies,
on the way we stop to visit with a Cherokee artist
to buy a flute from him,
admire the masks he’s making out of buckeye,
masks to represent all seven of the clans,
I put in an order for a small set of them,
he describes how he got the design for one piece of the flute
from a picture he found of Cherokee in the 1840s,

the Cherokee intrigue me,
for they have lived close to the land
since the ice allowed the plants 
to come back to the high mountains,

the Cherokee felt the plant and the human kingdoms to be allies,
animals more competitors than allies,
though the bear were cousins,
something I feel also when I interact with black bears,

when I started writing poetry in earnest,
I spent years writing of the seasons,
of mountain top, high cove, rich valley,
of streams, of flowers, of trees,
I worked in hopes that the natural world,
with original energy,
would live upon the page through my words,
never even a mention of the human
until I had worked to learn the basics
of the world before humans,
the original elder upon the earth.

by Henry H. Walker

April 3, ’17

No comments: