Culture

PoetryCorner

On this day in 1979 the Sioux nation received $100 million in compensation for The Black Hills, South Dakota. Here is a poem written about The Black Hills by Peter Blue Cloud.

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Photo by Helen Armet

Crazy Horse Monument

Hailstones falling like sharp blue sky chips
howling winds the brown grass bends, while
buffalo paw and stamp and blow billowing steam,
and prairie wolves chorus the moon in morning.

The spotted snake of a village on the move
a silent file of horses rounding hills,
in a robe of gray, the sky chief clutches thunder
and winter seeks to find the strongest men.

Crazy Horse rides the circle of his people’s sleep,
from Little Big Horn to Wounded Knee,
Black Hills, their shadows are his only robe
dark breast feathers of a future storm.

Those of broken bodies piled in death,
of frozen blood upon the white of snow,
yours is now the sky chant of spirit making,
pacing the rhythm of Crazy Horse’s mount.

And he would cry in anger of a single death,
and dare the guns of mounted soldiers blue,
for his was the blood and pulse of rivers,
and mountains and plains taken in sacred trust.

   Crazy Horse rides the circle of his people’s sleep,
from Little Big Horn to Wounded Knee,
Black Hills, their shadows are his only robe
dark breast feathers of a future storm.

And what would he think of the cold steel chisel,
and of dynamite blasting a mountain’s face,
what value the crumbled glories of Greece and Rome,
to a people made cold and hungry?

To capture in stone the essence of a man’s spirit,
to portray the love and respect of children and elders,
fashion instead the point of a hunting arrow sharp,
and leave to the elements the wearing-down of time.

   Crazy Horse rides the circle of his people’s sleep,
from Little Big Horn to Wounded Knee,
Black Hills, their shadows are his only robe
dark breast feathers of a future storm.

By Peter Blue Cloud

1 reply »

  1. Here’s another one………….

    “Ballad of Ira Hayes” as written by P. La Farge….

    Call him drunken Ira Hayes
    He won’t answer anymore
    Not the whiskey drinking Indian
    Or the marine that went to war

    Gather ’round me people
    There’s a story I would tell
    ‘Bout a brave young Indian
    You should remember well
    From the land of the Pima Indian
    A proud and noble band
    Who farmed the Phoenix Valley
    In Arizona land
    Down the ditches a thousand years
    The waters grew Ira’s peoples’ crops
    ‘Til the white man stole their water rights
    And the sparkling water stopped
    Now, Ira’s folks were hungry
    And their land grew crops of weeds
    When war came, Ira volunteered
    And forgot the white man’s greed

    Call him drunken Ira Hayes
    He won’t answer anymore
    Not the whiskey drinking Indian
    Or the marine that went to war

    There they battled up Iwo Jima hill
    Two hundred and fifty men
    But only twenty-seven lived
    To walk back down again
    And when the fight was over
    And Old Glory raised
    Among the men who held it high
    Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

    Call him drunken Ira Hayes
    He won’t answer anymore
    Not the whiskey drinking Indian
    Or the marine that went to war

    Ira Hayes returned a hero
    Celebrated through the land
    He was wined and speeched and honored
    Everybody shook his hand
    But he was just a Pima Indian
    No water, no home, no chance
    At home nobody cared what Ira’d done
    And when did the Indians dance

    Call him drunken Ira Hayes
    He won’t answer anymore
    Not the whiskey drinking Indian
    Or the marine that went to war

    Then Ira started drinking hard
    Jail was often his home
    They let him raise the flag and lower it
    Like you’d throw a dog a bone
    He died drunk early one morning
    Alone in the land he fought to save
    Two inches of water and a lonely ditch
    Was a grave for Ira Hayes

    Call him drunken Ira Hayes
    He won’t answer anymore
    Not the whiskey drinking Indian
    Or the marine that went to war

    Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
    But his land is just as dry
    And his ghost is lying thirsty
    In the ditch where Ira died

    Liked by 1 person

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