Monday Poems
10:42 am
Mon October 21, 2013

"We Are the Spirits of These Bones"

Poems Across the Big Sky: An Anthology of Montana Poets

We have been with these bones
for a long time
and we are beginning to feel
a whole lot better now
that these bones are back among the Cheyenne people on their Reservation.

But we are troubled for another reason.
We want to travel on
now that these bones are safely buried.
They have now been properly put to rest.

All that has happened is all very good.
These bones are now in a good place.
But we are still troubled:
We as the spirits do not know this place.
We just used to travel through this place when
we were hunting the enemy or hunting for food.
We are not from here, we want you to know that.
We have been meeting and singing.

All the spirits who have been with these bones for a long time were called to a meeting to sing songs.
We are looking for the right wolf songs that will guide us.
So now we are singing.
We are trying different songs.
Whenever we find the right wolf songs,
we will travel on to a place we know, to a familiar place where we can sleep peacefully.
Where we will no longer feel bad.
Where we will not feel so homesick.
"Let us find our wolf songs so we can journey on," we said.
We also put together some hand drums. That's what we're doing.
That's what we were drumming on.
And now we are finding those songs that we're going to sing as we travel on to where we can sleep peacefully.

We do not know this Reservation land very well.

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Dr. Richard Little Bear

Dr. Richard Little Bear earned a doctorate from Boston University in 1994. He returned to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in 1996, where he is President of Chief Dull Knife College. He considers his skill at reading and writing the Cheyenne language his greatest academic achievement. "We Are the Spirits of These Bones" was published in English and Cheyenne in Poems Across The Big Sky: An Anthology of Montana Poets.

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