We are, what we leave behind.. Poem 15 for April.
We are, what we leave behind…
I remember the most beautiful woman I have ever known. She was a Ojibwa woman who lost everything and she kept her human emotions of kindness and love. I remember she allowed no-one to imprison me and she would take me to the parks, the forest and the water.
I didn’t see the sadness in her eyes till I was older. She told me once. When I was six years old. The government took me from my home, cut my hair, change my name and I wasn’t allowed to speak my language. I never saw my parent again. With sad eyes, she told me. I don’t hold hate. I forgave them, but I remember everything.
She would sing Ojibwa chants for me and my sister. We would dance in circles for her. She would laugh and smile. We were her Spring wildflowers, she wanted us to grow free and untamed. I remember she told my step-mother. Johnnie and Toni will go outside when the days are warm. Even if they were acting badly. Children must know freedom and be brave. Not locked-up and forced to live a liar’s life.
Now I am the grandfather and I try to be like her. I show my grandchildren the lakes, the forest and the long rivers. I allowed them to test life, run freely, have fun and not be locked-up.
My dear Ojibwa grandmother told me after I returned from the war. We are, what we leave behind. You my grandchild, make me feel proud. You are standing on your own feet and no-one owned your life. Please teach your children, the Ojibwa way. Love the land, be kind to all people. Better to have many friends then stand alone.
One day, I will join her and my father at the great Pow Wow in the sky. I will chant for her and we will dance the circle dance of friendship and love. I would tell her. I left great wealth on the earth. Our grandchildren are strong, free-thinkers and brave. I hope I did well. She would tell me.
You did well my Johnnie. You honored our heritage and the earth. We are, what we leave behind. You left strong children. You did well.