Skip to main content

In Part One of this verse-rant, I told you about the struggle to foil Gogebic Taconite (GTac) and Scott Walker's criminal scheme to dig a huge open-pit mine across the Bad River Watershed in Northern Wisconsin. Mrs. ruleoflaw and I decided to take a little vacation in Ashland County to visit with some folks who are at the forefront of this struggle.

One of these folks is Nick, a journalist, rabble-rouser and fisherman; my kind of guy.
He is frequently found at the public library, another mark of distinction. The library was where I first met him, and where I found him again a few days later. We went to lunch at the Snow Creek Bar and Grill. Mrs. ruleoflaw was patient as two old dreamers spoke of legend and soil and blood. Over fish sandwiches and coffee, we twined words of myth in the strings of a pike's-jaw harp. He told me about his friend Russel Buck, a "Finndian" who lives with his feet in the red sand. He told me about getting sober. He told me about the water that healed him and the black wing damselflies that blessed him.

His words helped these poems to get out of my head.

Eating the Sun

Under leaves,‭ ‬on the air,
between blue,‭ ‬green and brown,
smoke wafts and waits.‭
Breezes arrive when they get here.
Wind cannot be made to punch a clock.

Leaves eat the light all day.
In blind breaks and bone shards
sunlight flogs wanderers.
Sun blesses and burns,
flays and feeds,
spinning wind and water into fury.

Sun renders men into jerky.
Light pierces and spatters down
past the green,‭ ‬to steaming red sand.
Out in the Penokees,‭ ‬the water
races down the gorges.
Tamarack steeped,‭ ‬pulling down the stones
splitting land with her hands and hair.

In town,‭
lights go out.
Radios play softly.
Girls with pretty voices
tell of their fractured loves.
We rest while‭ ‬ageless stars
hum and breathe fire‭
in the heads of dreamers.

Under turtle shells
on silver dime moonbeams,
coyotes slip past the woodpile.
Under crow‭’‬s toes
all is known,‭ ‬noted,‭ ‬catalogued.
Under ferns,
possum eyes shine,
greeting the stars
skittering before dawn.
_____________________________

In the Tears of Ashland Spring

Kinnickinnick offered up,
offered down,
offered east,west,‭ ‬north and south.
Maple trees hold sweet treasure.
Give,‭ ‬take what is given,‭ ‬no more no less.

Chaos is a word we use
when the pattern is
too complex to understand.
Kinnickinnick is simple in it‭’‬s elements.
Chaos,‭ ‬in it‭’‬s fractal geometry,
reduces tobacco and dogwood bark
into understandable elements of
unfathomable detail.

We speak of four winds.
In a given gully or gorge,
on a mist covered day in June,
does anyone know how the wind blows‭?

Iron-sick ships break on Superior shoals.
Sailor's moans drift across the rice beds.
Death on the inland sea,
life in the sloughs
Kakagon gives food to the world.
Ore boats steam on.
May sailors find refuge.
May Ashinaabe children be fed.
Food,‭ ‬refuge,‭ ‬peace.

Together,‭ ‬the water-babies,‭ ‬pixies and‭
children of Danu cry out.
In the Ashland spring water,‭
tears of nymphs and otters mix.
Hear in the ears of children unborn,
see in the eyes of grandparents gone into earth and stars,
feel on the skins of Nick,‭ ‬and Larry and Jen and Alan,
tears of the otter,‭
tears of the nymphs and spirits,
cold on our faces,
scalding our hands,
washing the soil of suffering from our feet.

The dirt under our feet is divine.
Fire in the air,‭ ‬in the earth,
in the hearts of the living and the dead
burning in split pine and birch.
Under the hemlock root,‭
below the bloody wintergreen berries,
old voices wail and whisper.
Weeping dew on our bare feet,‭ ‬they call.
Our only home is on their bosom.
Our shelter is on the red sand.
Our dwelling-place is a wigwam in the Penokees.

We abide in the arms of Brigid,
of Astarte,
of Marie in Blue,
of Gitchi Manitou.
Mother-moon pours down to bathe us.
She makes us clean,‭ worthy of the water.
She touches the hide of our hearts
with Black Winged Damselflies
on the tips of her fingers.



Originally posted to ruleoflaw on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing, Badger State Progressive, Rebel Songwriters, and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site