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Running on the March Wind, a triumph of dance in New Age Imagist poetry.


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Running on the March Wind

Author: Lenore Keeshig

Publisher: Quattro Books

Date of Publication: 2015

Page Count: 109


“Love lift us up where we belong . . . “
- from Up Where We Belong by Buffy Sainte-Marie


Running on the March Wind by Lenore Keeshig, is a triumph of dance in New Age Imagist poetry. The award winning Poet, Children’s writer and Storyteller is from the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nations. She also works as a Naturalist at the National Parks on the Bruce Peninsula. She is an activist for Native culture and founded “The Committee to Re-establish the Trickster” in the 1980’s.

This poetry is a dance of nature imagery, Imagist and Native Culture, using words from the Chippewa language (a clan of Ojibwe/ Anishawabe) that writes in dreamscapes, a place inside God. The nature images border on the iconoclast, the trees, the maple tree (ninaatig), the bear (mko), the wolf (ma’iingan), the hawk (geniw), the bald eagle (migizi) and dwell within the center of the world, a song in creation and in peace within the Creator. The poem Cedar, is within the book section titled “Songs for the Trees”:

Cedar

translucent
green
shimmer

cedar whispering
to the winds

cedar sipping
the salient
sunshine
savouring sun’s
promises of
another hot
summer

cedar’s
sweet breath
cedar’s cool
touch
touches
my face, my
shoulders,
my tired
body, and
I am again
refreshed
I remember
now
cedar –
a blessing
a gift
a power
a strength
– I had
almost forgotten”

The themes of the poetry include children, her grandmother, family life, life on the Reserve and the struggle against challenges and violence, including her own psychology, nature, soldiers and the white culture. There are certain poems marked with (bear i, bear ii, bear iii, up until bear xii) in paranthesis after the titles as if telling a story within a story. I loved the image of the bear juxtaposed with children, enigmatic and dreamlike, how what was lost was also found, a story of hope.

Go Away
(bear ix)

my yellow house
my kitchen

i head for my room,
my desk, the computer,
my work and my writing

at the kitchen window
my children are standing
on chairs, pointing out,
watching, giggling
i join them and look out

there are bears, all kinds of
bears, young bears, all
colours like teddy bears
playing beneath the window
their den is under my floor

my feet are warm
i can feel their presence

but i push at the window screen
telling them to go away, go away,

yet my feet would be warm
if they stayed”




Outside Hope
(bear x)

the bears are gone now
all of them

the worn entrance to
their den is cold

i sprinkle tobacco and flakes
of food across the threshold,
hoping they’ll return
to my yellow house
their den beneath
my kitchen floor”

Also, the poetry gives voice to the dialectic between the Indian culture and the white culture. As the larger white culture sits on the edge of the Indian culture in the mass media, feeding negative stereotypes about Indian peoples, highlighting self-esteem issues and psychologically undermining. The population of the Indigenous Peoples has been greatly reduced over 500 years, their language largely lost, the abuse from the white population and the emotional scars from the residential schools has been called cultural genocide. The white society system has traditionally been a closed door system, the war/whore economy has negatively affected everyone including the Indian peoples, manifesting karmic dissonance, violence and debt. With the birth of the Internet Age, a see and be seen world is creating greater awareness, perhaps lessening violence and creating more positive dialogue and greater opportunities for life.

In “He Fights

“secretly he dreams
of bear and struggles hard
to let go let go of things that
hold Indian people
back, things that
pull them back
back into
the white
man’s dark ages”

This struggle with the larger white population is expertly highlighted, beginning with the first poem,

Indians

When I was
a kid back home,
we kids used to
play Cowboys and Indians.
We never wanted
to be the Indians
’cause they were
always the bad guys
and lost.
So we were all cowboys
back home
on the reservation.”

and builds into a resounding crescendo to the brilliance of the last poem, Goodbye, Wild Indian. As if the struggle with the white society has been bred in the bone, the self-esteem issues and the idea of “who we are” inculcated from television and mass media that doesn’t portray the reality, gives no real role models or positive idea of self.

This poetry is expertly drawn into the crucible for change, an activist voice for real people. The poetry itself is magic weaving nature iconography and imagery, sometimes like chanting, telling the story of the Poet, a story of struggle, inside the beauty of soulspeak despite the violence of a broken world. Running on the March Wind by Lenore Keeshig, a song for the New Age.

Available @ Amazon Canada. Amazon.ca.

Available at Amazon United States. Amazon.com.

Available @ Amazon United Kingdom. Amazon.co.uk.


Genre: Poetry, New Age, Women's Literature, Indigenous People's Literature





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