Little one you make no sound,
Though you pillows damp with tears.
Your voice is stilled with terror,
And your eyes are wide with fear.
Your broken body trembles,
Heavy footsteps down the hall.
I know your fear; I speak your name,
But you cannot hear my call.
My stay on earth was full of pain,
My stay on earth was brief,
I had to leave, I longed to die
But my heart is wrought with grief.
Please forgive me, brother,
But today’s my day to die.
The angels came and took me
To a place up in the sky
But I feel no peace where I am now,
For my troubled soul won’t sleep.
I hear my brothers mournful cry,
And my heavy heart still weeps.
My heart breaks my brother,
As I leave you helpless in your crib,
I can not stay; I can not help,
For I am just a little kid.
© Copyrighted--Shirley Rasmussen
Dust devils dance across the land, of endless wilting grain,
The land is parched and turned to dust, it hungers for the rain.
The sun is high in cloudless skies, it withers farmers` dreams.
The Hawks fly high in search of food, their cries likes demons` screams.
The gophers peer from burrows, that dots the perished earth’
Their ears alert, their noses twitch, their bodies wrenched with thirst.
Young women old before their time, their young skin cracked and dry.
With bodies stooped, their grieving eyes. glance up towards the skies.
Not unlike the silent plight of the dying plains,
They pray for rain with hopless heart, but no one heeds their pain.
Forsaken dreams and all hope lost, they’ve abandon all but prayer.
They turn away from men they loved, for they no longer care
The children now, too weak to play, have ceased to laugh or sing.
Their bitter tears have long been shed, their small bodies gaunt and thin.
The endless wind, like devils` taunts, scream, like the damned in flight.
As unanswered prayers of hopeless men, are whispered in the night.
“Oh devil wind, I`ve given up, my soul is wracked with pain,
Please give me back my womans` love, please give me back the rain.”
© Copyrighted--Shirley Rasmussen.1999
This poem is dedicated to all the native children that were sent to
Residential schools during a time of our shameful past.
SINS OF THE FATHERS
I can no longer hear the birds that sing, no longer run with deer.
No longer hear the wild geese, as winter days grow near.
They stole me from my mother’s arms, and sent me to their schools.
They caned me and they beat me, and called me “Savage fool.”
I can no longer feel the wind, as it bends the mighty tree..
Or watch the fields of swaying grass, Four gray walls is all I see..
I no longer speak my mother`s tongue. Time has robbed my memory..
I no longer hear the wise old words, my people told to me..
My days are filled with shadows; my nights are filled with fears.
My body aches, my pillow’s damp, from broken dreams and tears..
They’ve stolen my tomorrows; they’ve taken my todays..
They’ve stripped me of my pride and soul. But my yesterday still stays..
Yes I was strong; I laughed and ran, free as the winds that blow..
My nights were free of demon dreams; my soul was light as snow.
Yes, yesterday I was proud and free. My people brave and wise.
My people laughed, my people sang. But now our spirit dies..
I wonder why they hate me so? Is it the color of my skin?
Or is it because I love to sing? They tell me that’s a sin.
Or is it that, my heathen soul is damned, like white men say?
If so, why did God, make man, to love a summer day?
Why did he make us love to sing, or watch an eagle soar?
Why make us love the warm spring winds that melt the winter snow?
And why did God make birds songs sweet? And why make the sky so blue?
Why paint a rainbow? Scent a rose? Oh how, I wish I knew.
We worshiped things you do not see like sun and wind and rain
Though our eyes are black, our skin is tanned. Do you think we feel no pain?
When we are beaten, robbed of pride, we hurt the same as you.
We laugh, we love, we weep, we mourn, just like all men do.
© Copyrighted--Shirley Rasmussen