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I See


Betty HoubionBetty HoubionMoon rose up
over half Mother Earth,
filtered light upon
the prairie seed, and
in the winter blue of night,
she called my name.

I fell to my knees,
crushing the grasses
beneath me and
hid my eyes.

Weak-souled,
I could not bear
the despair below
the prairie seed.

She called my name.

Moon drew me up
into the beak of Thunderbird,
an undulating, ancient
aurora borealis silhouette,
casting its colors
white, green and red,
across generations.

Held high, Thunderbird
flung me deep into
the luminescent eye
of the Blind Man, and
the Blind Man said,
“I see,” and I understood,
and I, blind, saw and hid.

Wind swept across
the prairie seed.
Fury unleashed,
rains cast down
on the grasses and
flooded my heart.
I could not bear
the despair.
Mother Earth too
called my name.

A passing flock of Loons
encircled Mother Earth.
She cocooned my soul
within transcendent,
resplendent,
serene
shadows.
I slept,
cradled
in the soft down
of the prairie seed.

A Loon,
a single Loon,
raised up its head
and looked into
the undulating eye
of the Thunderbird
and let out a cry,
a piercing shrill cry,
it penetrated the
heart of the
prairie seed,
and impaled
my soul.

With every swift
step of my Spirit Run,
I felt searing pain
lodged in the essence
of my Being.
Life abandoned me.

Thunderbird released
the cry of the Loon,
and the earth shuddered.

Moon rose up over the prairie
and swathed Mother Earth
in its radiating glow.
Quiet settled within me.
I heard and understood.
I heard in the echo of
Mother Earth’s sweet breath
and in the terrible cry of the Loon,
I heard her call my name.

Betty Greenwood Houbion

The Indian knows his village and feels for this village as no white man for his country, his town, or even for his own bit of land.  The village is the talking bird, the owl, who calls the name of the man who is going to die, and the silver-tipped grizzly who ambles into the village, and the little white speck that is the mountain goat on Whoop-Szo.… and when he hears the symbolic call of the owl in the forest, he understands his purpose there and his fate.           
Tsawantaineuk Tribe, Kingcome Village, B.C., Canada
I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Margaret Craven, 1974

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