Plains Indian Artifacts–Beaded Moccasins


Last evening I attended a new exhibit at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.  The exhibit featured moccasins, paintings, and various artifacts made by different Great Plains tribes, including a headdress worn by Quanah Parker.  The exhibit also contains many old photographs.  A number of Comanches were present including a lady over 100 years old.

After I left the exhibit, I kept thinking about it and wondered how current Comanches might feel when they come to something like this which in many ways honors them but also displays a past that will never return.  While contemplating, I wrote this poem about what I saw.

Beaded moccasins,

moons of work.

Ceremonial beauty,

now encased in glass, labelled, dated by someone’s guess,

for strangers who believe in a strange god,

desecrate the land,

waste invaluable water,

kill bears for sport.

Weep

Wait

 

img_2432

Palo Duro Canyon, Comanche Country, where they made their last stand and were forced to go to a reservation in Oklahoma after federal troops killed over a thousand of their horses.

 

 

 

Puma IV


SAM_0912In the poetry class this week we read Louise Erdrich.  I’ve read most of her novels but did not realize she also wrote poetry.  In particular I liked “Captivity” which made me think of Quanah Parker and his mother.  We are supposed to be inspired by whatever author’s poems we are reading on any given week.  Sometimes that occurs; sometimes not.  The following poem follows the previous three puma poems I published on this blog last September.  This one is different; it comes from an actual dream last week.  Its unique beginnings contradict the fact that I rarely recall dreams and care nothing about dream interpretation.

Stars shining through sleep

Dreaming dark.

A white, luminescent lion

comes nuzzling arms, legs.

Should fear engulf or

a quiet peace dominate?

Tawny lions encircle:

affectionate

smiling lion smiles.

Fear slides in slightly,

logically.

These lions bring love,

a natural peace.

Fear dissipates,

the lions and I locked

in an eternal, primal dance.