• Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Invocation of the Western Star: a poem

Here is a poem that I thought (along with the rest of the book) spoke in great ways of Native Americans.

INVOCATION

Not for the great, not for the marvelous,
Not for the barren husbands of the gold
Not for the arrowmakers of the soul,
Wasted with truth, the star regarding wise;
Not even for the few
Who would not be the hunter nor the prey,
Who stood between the eater and the meat,
The wilderness saints, the guiltless, the absolved,
Born out of time, the seekers of the balm
Where the green grass grows from the broken heart;
But for all these, the nameless, numberless
Seed of the field, the mortal wood and earth
Hewn for the clearing, trampled for the floor,
Uprooted and cast upon the stone
From Jamestown to Benicia.
This is their song, this is their testament,
Carved to their likeness, speaking to their tongue
And branded with the iron of their star.
I say you shall remember them. I say
When night has fallen on your loneliness
And the deep wood beyond the ruined wall
Seems to step forward swiftly with the dusk,
You shall remember them. You shall not see
Water or wheat or axe-mark on the tree
and not remember them.
You shall not win without remembering them,
For they won every shadow of the moon,
All the vast shadows, and you shall not lose

Without a dark rememberance of their loss
For they lost all and none remembered them.

Hear the wind
Blow through the buffalo-grass,
Blow over wild-grape and brier.
This was frontier, and this,
And this, your house, was frontier.
There were footprints upon the hill
And men lied buried under,
Tamers of earth and rivers.
they died at the end of labor,
Forgotten is the name.

Now, in full summer, by the Eastern shore
Between the seamark and he roads going West,
I call two oceans to remember them.
I fill the hollow darkness with their names.

from the book Western Star
by Benet.
 

painted wolf

Grey Muzzle
wow... makes us sound like we are gone and forgotten.
sad really... but we are here, we remember who we are and that is the most important part.

wa:do
 

ayani

member
i agree with painted wolf- native americans are not "extinct" or "dead and gone". how sad and odd that this poem made you think of indigenous americans.

check out the book "children of native america today". it's written for children- but i think much of the world would do well to read it.
 

kreeden

Virus of the Mind
Well , you are not forgotten PW . :) And I'm glad that you are not gone .

I didn't want to say anything before , but I think that the poem is more about pining over a romantic ideal of what never was . As far as a romantic poem goes , it is a nice poem . Kinda mixed , historicaly and culturally though .
 

painted wolf

Grey Muzzle
The wilderness saints, the guiltless, the absolved,
Born out of time, the seekers of the balm
yeah this we ain't :sarcastic

people need to have some sort of ideal to look up to, for some reason Native Americans have become the template that others project thier hopes and fears onto.
Noble Savage, Bloodthirsty Warrior, Indian Princess....
Needless to say this can be very frustrating to deal with. ;)

wa:do
 
I agree with you the poem is depressing. It was probably written to make people feel guilty. White settlement really did destroy much of Native civilization in many ways though. Reservations are very limiting geographicly and people can no longer go to many places that were part of everyday life, let alone live in "america" how it was meant. Its absolutly not the same.
Some of the poem kind of reminds me of speaking of how the sumarian civilization was destroyed
it also reminds me of that one winter for the Sioux when there was no grass for the horses to eat...I think someone else harvested it for something.
It is kind of a weird poem...a good book though and only 1$ on amazon. Most themes are drawn from the invocation.
 

painted wolf

Grey Muzzle
I don't understand how reservations keep us from living in America "how it was ment".

Reservations allow Nations to maintain cultural identity and self determination. They have problems, ecconomic development issues and so on, but by and large if you ask the Nations they will not want to give up the good things, but work to fix the problems. (just like any other place)

as for going to places that are part of everyday life.... times change, we are just as capable of living in cities as in 'the wild'. Just like everyone elce.

We are not the Sumarians.

wa:do
 

kreeden

Virus of the Mind
No PW , you are not the Sumariens . :) But people like to look back to " good old days " , when life was " simpler ". No matter how those " good old days " actually were ....

Ramacharaka , the Sioux were a nomadic people . Or somewhat nomadic at least . As such , they didn't put in crops of hay for there horses and often fed them bark in the winter . { too many horses at the winter camp I would guess } . Such was the reality if the Plains People . It could be a hard , often cold and hungery life .

Now I'm not saying that the " white " people didn't cause problems for the Sioux , but it was also the " whites " who brought the horse to N.A. begin with ...

Which is a great excample of how life changes . No one today thinks of the " Plains Indian " without thinking of their horses . But they never had horses untill the Europeans came . Look at how quickly , and completely the horse became a part of their lifes , their culture .

PW , I had never thought of reservations in the way you explain them . Never really liked the concept as they divide people . But you are correct . They likely did quite a bit to preserve what culture that has survived . A little bit of a silver lining eh ? :)
 

painted wolf

Grey Muzzle
i'm sure that when the horse was adopted by the Lakota that there were old people complaining about loosing the 'old ways'.

life is change, the important part is how you change and what you keep.

wa:do
 

kreeden

Virus of the Mind
:) I couldn't agree more PW . Life is change .

And again you bring up something I had never really thought of , but I assume that you are correct . :) There are always those who disagree with any change .... { looking back , it kinda makes one smile eh ? }
 
well this is amusing. I only drew a parallel to the sumarians because they really were the human race's first civilization and they were destroyed by opium smoking neandrathals, like it was a joke/opiate illusion. nOt a good omen, and look the white people got all messed up and destroyed a continent . I completly disagree with you. people should be invited by US to come to the united states, I learned my tribe is actually blackfoot, and yes they were nomadic plant runners, just like the gypsies/caananites in the bible. we may not have grown crops of hay for the horses but there was plenty around, grass is sacred to all religion and THE WHITES STARVED THE VERY HORSES THEY GAVE US by taking all the grass. By saying horses were some kind of boon to native america is missing the point. we don't want your damn horeses and the name blackfoot implies that you were taking long walks on your feet...and networking the nations. Calamus is a sacred plant to the plains indians, and it is a sad falling feeling of pushing the mescaline away, a paranoia comedown for your mushrooms, lsd grass, and dmt plants. you can get cancer from calamus alone, but my native american grandmother had a rare blood type, smoked ciggarettes all her life and never got cancer, and died on christmas morning 1995. being paranoid is good when there are things like the white people giving you horses to take you away from the earth, and then starving the horses trying to send you to hell. especially after they stopped the trains and shot all the buffalo while smoking opium only to leave them in a rotting festering pile.
Were they trying to raise spirits that were white?:run:
screw reservations, they are cool in being independant nations, but no one can walk around and commune or live off of nature anymore.
white people destroyed all things they found that were native american.
there was no preservation of culture, as the whites brought disease and destroyed the balance of nature.
in heaven the borders were guarded. you are invited to go to that place and try to live out the story of earth, in what some people represent to it it will look like hell. just a warning
No PW , you are not the Sumariens .:shrug: :) But people like to look back to " good old days " , when life was " simpler ". No matter how those " good old days " actually were ....

Ramacharaka , the Sioux were a nomadic people . Or somewhat nomadic at least . As such , they didn't put in crops of hay for there horses and often fed them bark in the winter . { too many horses at the winter camp I would guess } . Such was the reality if the Plains People . It could be a hard , often cold and hungery life .

Now I'm not saying that the " white " people didn't cause problems for the Sioux :no::confused:, but it was also the " whites " who brought the horse to N.A. begin with ...

Which is a great excample of how life changes . No one today thinks of the " Plains Indian " without thinking of their horses . But they never had horses untill the Europeans came . Look at how quickly , and completely the horse became a part of their lifes , their culture .

PW , I had never thought of reservations in the way you explain them . Never really liked the concept as they divide people . But you are correct . They likely did quite a bit to preserve what culture that has survived . A little bit of a silver lining eh ? :)
 

iyatiku

Seeker
indeed is change the singular constant in life; and we certainly do continue to "live off of nature", a symbiosis that is changed somewhat only in outward appearances! the poem seemingly refers to all fallen (heros?), be they individuals or entire cultures; and IS quite romantically generic.
 
Top