Monday, April 24, 2006

Hatathli

He rose up,
lined face like
old, oil darkened
wood,

shirt fraying at
the cuff and collar,

sweat-stained
Stetson hat the
color of dust,

long silver hair
drawn back and
clasped against
his neck with a
turquoise and
sliver broach,

and the sound of
his voice was
very clear against
the tapestry of the
oncoming twilight,

and the wind left the
sky and all was quiet,
clear as midwinter
without the chill,

and he sung the long
songs of ancestors and
eons, his boots kicked
off and shapeless with
wear beside the the
hand-woven rug,

and his feet were pale,
his ankles thin and
bony, his toes curled
with age and each nail
thick and hardened yellow,

and the movements
of his hands meant
things I couldn’t
put words to, but
I felt them, felt them
in the marrow of the
bones with each turning,
each phantom reaching
into souls of other
bards from another
generation,

and the speaking song
he told out against the
tapestry of the stars being
born spoke of the lost
things—of the ancient
worlds beneath the
ground,

and how animals
talked then, and how
we could understand
them, our ears undeafened
in the first lands of earth,

and how people once knew
the secret of breathing, of
walking in beauty and
needing nothing but what
the land could offer,

and how those worlds were
abandoned, always in the
quest for more, or better,
or different, and that perhaps
this place, too, would be
thought of as an ancient
world someday,

with different suns plowing
furrows in foreign skies,

and earth unknown to us
sifting slowly between our
toes upon the verge of
some vast and unknown
desert.

6 comments:

drthunder said...

Well Firehawk! This is particularly beautiful for me. There are so few real Hatathli's remaining on the Navajo Nation, yet they hold such a powerful position among the dine'. This is a wonderful tribute to those talented and skillful leaders. May you have the protection of the sacred mountains, and may the sands carry your thoughts around the world to help other walk in beauty.

Soulless said...

how people once knew
the secret of breathing, of
walking in beauty

with different suns plowing
furrows in foreign skies


Oh God, this piece, especially the above-quoted lines (and the whole ninth stanza)... breathtakingly beautiful. I am at a loss for words.

Deeply moving, this. ^_^ Thank you.

MB said...

and the sound of
his voice was
very clear against
the tapestry of the
oncoming twilight,

and the wind left the
sky and all was quiet,
clear as midwinter
without the chill,


... those stanzas created a hush in my mind and drew me in. This really is beautifully done, Firehawk. Is this rooted in a personal experience?

Firehawk said...

Doc,

Thank you for the blessing. I supose there's no more noble calling than to try to help others walk in beauty.

Soulless,

I'm so pleased that you liked the poem. I felt that it turned out rather well. Thank you, for coming by and saying hello!

MB,

I did live on or near the Navajo Reservation for several years. I suppose, if you let them, the sacred mountains cast their spells on you. There's a purity to many of the beliefs of the Dine' (the Navajo's name for themselves--meaning "the people) that just feel right. Makes me feel as if some of the other belief systems may have missed the point--which I take to be the art of living well, being happy, and improving the lives of others you encounter along the way. "Walking in Beauty" is one of those great, simple concepts that takes a lifetime to try and learn completely.

Thanks, everyone, for coming over.

MB said...

Thanks, Firehawk. I wondered only because there is such depth of feeling running under this piece. Perhaps it is only that you expressed it, or perhaps it is that this brings it out. Either way, it's a beautiful poem.

Bobby-T said...

Oh to be satisfied with what this Earth has to offer. It makes me yearn for the contentment that simple gifts can bring. What has happened to me that I must encumber myself with my posessions? This is a poignant and thought provoking piece.