Friday, April 8, 2011

Two Feathers

Contrary to my usual practice, I 'm not providing an image for this poem due to copyright and fair use considerations. Please follow the link provided below to see the painting by Native American artist Jerome Tiger, Stomp Dance, on which this poem is based. Tiger was an extremely gifted painter born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, a Muskogee Creek-Seminole, who died tragically at the age of 26, after producing some of the most vivid art depicting Native Americans I've ever been privileged to see.



Two Feathers

When everything is taken from a man,
and there is nothing left,
when his home has been burned 
for someone else's crops,
and his moccasins are gone,
then he must go barefoot,
stop dancing
or learn
to dance in boots.

When a man is made naked and
invisible,
then he must dress
in someone else's clothes
to be seen.

When a man's way has been broken and lost,
if he wants to dance it back, 
then he will dance the dance he knows
as best he can
and fly
with just
two feathers.


April 2011 




Posted for Friday Poetically at the inimitable OneStopPoetry
(Brian Miller's prompt for today was to choose any work of art as subject for a poem. Thanks, Brian.)

This poem may make more sense if you  click here to view Stomp Dance,  which inspired it; you can also read Jerome Tiger's biography.





11 comments:

  1. excellent write hedge...it is heartbreaking the way of life that was in many ways destroyed by the machine..

    When a man is made naked and
    invisible,
    then he must dress
    in someone else's clothes
    to be seen

    this verse could apply to many and i found very potent...nice.

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  2. This is overwhelming ... and quite beautiful. Off to the website now. Thank you.

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  3. What wonderful and powerful words. They are perfect for Tiger's art.

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  4. Really nice ending to this, m'dear.

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  5. Wonderful! I have a special love for First Nations, having lived and worked among them. A beautiful people - painful pasts, yet hearts so ready to laugh . I have never met people who laughed more easily. The painting is wonderful and your poem a tribute. "then he must dance the dance he knows as best he can, and fly with just two feathers." Brilliant!

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  6. Two feathers is all some need. One to soar and one to steer with. Better dance your own dance clumsily than to dance at the fire of another and make them thin you are something you never wanted to be.

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  7. Absolutely beautiful!

    I gave you one of my weekly Goddess Awards which you can collect anytime you like at my place!

    Happy blogging!

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  8. Thank you so much Elise. I really appreciate it, and your kind comment.

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  9. What a powerful and moving poem. The artwork is striking, and your words suit it wonderfully. I especially like the image of learning to dance in boots.

    The second stanza is especially evocative, and the ending...well, some people do indeed learn to fly with just two feathers. It speaks to survival and the ability of some to transform loss into creativity--into dancing and flying. Excellent write!

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  10. The artwork is stunning, but your poem stands on its own as well. Incredible ending.

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  11. Wow! Powerful work here. I love the feeling of lightness the last words bring. Nicely done.

    xx

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg