Kateri Tekakwitha’s Dream Song

On the waving hills above the river
in the time of trillium and violet
the women plant the corn

I am “she who puts things in order”
tending the fire in the longhouse
mixing the sagamite
working the starry beads
into belts and moccasins

My people killed the Blackrobes
shook the deer hoofs and puffin beaks
rattled the quills
banged the drums
while blood ran from the palisades

On the waving hills above the river
in the time of trillium and violets
the women plant the corn

I went to the woods as a child
with small food and no salt
walked out to greet my loneliness
and returned a woman
who carved on the birch
the sign of the cross

Now I eat of the faithfulness of trees
Now I am a bark bowl
for God’s flowing down
to wash the stained leggings
of him who wields the tomahawk

On the waving hills above the river
in the time of trillium and violets
the women plant the corn

My snowshoes never sink
on the whiteness of the field
when I go out to hear God in the wind
I sense the white man’s wantonness
bearing his god of noise
leaving carcasses to rot

Though I see but dimly
as through a dark glass
like Jesus’ friend who saw the moving trees
My fingers trace the veins on dappled leaves
out lives’ patterns that the heart knows
even when the eye fade

On the waving hills above the river
in the time of trillium and violets
the women plant the corn

Choosing the rapids over the net
like whitefish, the deer of the water,
I come to the Sault
retrace the path of my mother
Algonquin slave, my first baptizer
whose blue blanket Mary Mother wears

In the time of strawberries
we all caress the turtle’s back
the tree of peace grows from its shell
The eagle will circle
when the lover of war comes again
I ride on the bright cloud of her nest.

Kateri Tekakwitha lived 1656-1680. She is known as a mystic of the wilderness and patroness of ecology as well as peace. (From Why Not Become Fire: Encounters with Women Mystics)

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