Friday, February 15, 2013

Echoes of the Flute, A Narrative Poem

I am not a poet (and never will be), yet the title of my pending third book in the CUT HAND series takes its name from the only poem I have ever penned. It is called, “Echoes of the Flute,” and I think it encapsulates the struggle of our Native Americans, albeit clumsily and superficially. Nonetheless, I am moved to share it with others. To wit:

Photo Credit: Wickipedia


Great canoes with white sails
make shore. With curious hearts,
we greet whey-faced strangers,
honor them with booming drums
and welcoming songs of the flute.

Still they come. Blue seas turn
ghostly with blossoms of gray canvas.
Dismayed, we withdraw to lodges.
Thrumming drums become wary.
Warbling flutes grow drear. 

Bearded men cast cold eyes
upon lands our fathers left us.
“Now it is ours,” they claim.
The beat of drums turns angry.
Beaded flutes go shrill. 

Timbers fall to ringing axes,
game to booming sticks. Hunger
drives us from ancestral homes.
Tribal drums go hollow.
Flutes pipe in despair. 

Invaders overwhelm us.
We fall to thundering guns,
flee west across broad rivers.
Beating drums become frantic.
Flutes give voice to fear. 

They seduce with bright beads
and iron hatchets, then trade
blankets of spotted death.
Drums throb in mourning.
Flutes proclaim our loss. 

Rails and wires despoil vast prairies.
Buffalo once flowing like rivers,
now piles of sun-bleached bone.
Drums pulse in anger,
and flutes call out for war. 

We wither like weeds before flames.
Conquerors herd us to far, fallow
patches of unwanted land.
Drums fall silent in misery.
Flutes become forlorn. 

“Be civilized and prosper.” Warriors put
into trousers, called by alien names.
Yet fortune never smiles. Only wretched pain.
Drums remind of yesterday,
and flutes lament what was.

Exiled to distant schools, children shorn
and familiar tongues forbidden.
They weep for faraway fathers.
Drums lie rotting in corners.
Flutes are cast away. 

Long, dark decades we
languish, mere shadows
of paler people.
Where are our silent drums,
our sad, broken flutes? 

Hah! Our hearts swell as
young ones dance anew.
We are yet alive and always will be.
Drums lift up our spirits, and
we hear echoes of the flute.
Comments welcome...but you poets out there be kind.
Note: I am not a devoted blogger, but with any luck, there will be a new blog on the first of each month. As indicated above, I solicit comments, not only on the blogs, but also on any subject a reader cares to address.


  1. This brought tears to my eyes, a very beautiful poem. I loved your book Cut Hand, and have book 2. I am currently reading The Victor and The Vanquished and really enjoy it. I look forward to your other endeavors and it's a shame your publisher waits so long between books.

  2. Thanks, arl215. I always like it when someone enjoys my writing. That's what it all about. Appreciate you taking the time to let me know.