To Those Who Held This Land Before


To Those Who Held This Land Before

To those who held this land before we came,

I say, Hello! How are you? Did you love

The ridge beyond the creek, where sweetgums flame

In fall? And did you see the deer that move

Across the meadow in the night like clouds,

Silently, yet leaving sharp-edged prints

In softened earth? And did the rowdy

Jay awaken you at dawn with splintering

Cries of “Thief!” and “Thief!” again, although

He is the only thief around? I wish

We could have had the chance to get to know

Each other, to have a meal together, fish

The stream – it probably was flowing then,

But time has left this land to us – till when?

July 17, 1993

Aboard the Song of Norway