Dances with Wolves
elegy and epilogue

I.
As civil war tears a nation apart
with each blow struck, we rend her heart
with battle and strife and mutilation
forgetting together, we form a nation

One lone man, wounded, refused to continue
upon his shoulders lay the task of renewal
refusing to live his life as a cripple
this one man chose to cause a ripple

it moved up in a spiral, round and about
till all thoughts of life in this world had gone out
and death was the only path left to follow
willingly, gladly, this death he'd allow

and in this pain he was made to feel
to lie in anguish while senses reeled
there in the distant darkness touched
while arms around his body clutched

as ghostly as mirage it came
as simple as a candle flame
illumining a darkened space
giving truth to nameless face

a movement sparked by that small light
a glimmer of hope amid senseless fight
then he perched on mare in glorious flight
his arms spread wide, he dared their might
a resounding NO he sent soaring in sight

of meager minds and cruel emotion
in wonder and glory he sailed with devotion
waking spirit in all who'd comprehend
who could no longer live, pretend

then he slipped into unconsciousness
a world of never ending bliss
while within his soul awakened
to Eden, where he would be taken

with a dream to follow, a soul to seek
the might of nature to keep him meek
He came upon the red man there
and found his fear the barrier

Looking on these chosen people
he saw the love of families, simple
in wilderness they made their home
on pristine plain where the wild roamed

they lived in peace upon the land
where structures of steel now imposingly stand
If only all could hear Her call
and rise as mountains to view the all

man but a speck on a mightier face
composed of her body, alive by her grace
the higher the spiral as we ascend
through inner distance, beginning to end

from valley low to snowy peak
up and down, around we seek
the source, the power, the creative hand
but few of us knowing, wherever we stand
we're always there, in the palm of her hand

From ashes, from earth, from particles of dust
with a love much deeper and higher than lust
a body is formed, a soul is born
the earth becomes conscious of self as form

Giving thought to what we portray
brings great change to endless days
of life on earth, of habit in form
our souls will expand, our hearts will warm
to brothers and sisters, sharing this life
to flowers, to animals, to husband, to wife

A glow of kindness, a gentle touch
a caring hug, can do so much
to heal the hurts causing segregation
to mend the difference of separation

The joining of the opposites
the mending of the difference
the common bond, a silken thread
woven stronger with each heart that bled

at sight and touch of gods forlorn
forgotten by man; a lone heart reborn
can open channels of amazing grace
to bind disparity in our race

One race, one nation, one body, one soul
one voice, one heart, from pole to pole
joined with every entity
they call to us to feel, to be

at one with life, eternity's motion
life for the living, the source of creation
freely given and freely shared
beyond possession, a few have dared

to live their lives a different way
and with the dawn of each new day
they offer thanks within their being
for the wonder of this way of seeing

all in one and one in all
a higher voice within them calls
to each and every man of worth
each creature and process born of this earth

to hearken to the voice divine
the voice of truth within their own mind
combining the best of the old and the new
solving the mystery with one given clue

as preview of forgotten days
another reason to turn the page
to days of yore, to simple things
wisdom born of old it brings

of shaman, wizard and timeless sage
to loosen the shackles of spirit's cage
where soul and heart suffer, their freedom barred
where possessions and power so often mar

the growth of many precious seeds
to follow a path that only leads
to decay and destruction, the darkness of ages
while within their small hearts, the war still rages

tearing asunder the worthy, the right
to possess all the things within their sight
At death they truly disappear
if in life, their vision never clears

as they horde material vanity
beyond all though of sanity
never seeking for humanity
for the fullness of their destiny
the strength of their integrity
Are we worthy…?

Are we worthy of the childlike trust
will we find our way as we know we must
or will we let the other strive
toward the wealth of sacred prize
procrastinating till life is done
And if all are other, for God's sake, who's the one…?

that will spread the message to young and old:
Within your own heart you'll find the gold
more precious than any possession held
when greed and selfishness are finally quelled

it's then our vision can freely expand
inclusive of all - sun, sea, sky and land
These aspects to our unity
move in spirals endlessly

hoping for a human touch
conscious, they can offer much
of beauty, harmony, spacious glory
seeking our lips to tell the story

of the building of the universe
from moving particles, alive from the first
Within yourself, yet out of space
to a place of the most amazing grace

of rhyme and rhythm, a swirling spiral
in the center of which there is nothing that's final
myriad vortices, blending, dividing
to again become one, with another uniting

Where mystic and poet, endowed with form
are taken beyond the daily norm
to play with the angels, converse with the gods
to bask in sweet light, beyond the beyonds

yet to return to mere mortal proportion
to share the gifts, to brew the potion
bringing more than culture to starving souls
teasing spirit from matter, as sages of old

Cosmic thoughts of how it all started
entice, reveal and when departed
leaving eternity in their wake
fully realizing what's at stake

entrusted to our puny hands
the future of the planet stands.
Will we stop these endless repetitions
to remember together, we form a nation?

II.
In remotest outpost, a friend is found
a howl in the night his only sound
a furry creature with two white paws
who lives by only nature's laws

yet chooses to become my friend
to help the wounds of distance mend
and days and endless days I spent
earning the trust of this innocent

I named him Two Socks, he seemed to respond
independence was our common bond

and I learned more from his deep eyes
than astronomers learn by watching the skies
his wisdom was of instinct born
he lived alone yet not forlorn

while love for love his sharing sparked
his lone commingling marked my heart
his courage urged my own to be
to truly relate, one must be free

free to go, but free, too, to come home
leaving's but half of the urge to roam
in coming and going, no matter how far
the home of the heart burns bright as a star

From whence comes this necessity…?
seldom taken seriously
mysteriously haunting the open mind
to travel unknown paths to find

a community of kindred kind
of scope, of purpose, mutualities bind
Finding the truth is a sacred task
truth lying behind the social mask

behind our lost humanity
above the mere banality
unheard through days of ceaseless pain
yet always there, they never wane

They're back, you know, those souls of the ages
to partake again of this play set on stages
they bring the wealth of eternity
to every nationality

waiting always patiently
for entrance through humanity
At night at times when veil is thin
they find dreams a way of getting in

to fill our hearts with unearthly awe
will we wake as if we never saw
their splendid beauty, heavenly power
the wisdom of ages in a wild flower…?

The gentle flow of wind blown grass
inspires more wonder than wealth amassed
To worship the simple, the secret is whispered
and caught by the breeze, is gently dispersed

in warm and caring, loving touch
Within our hearts there dwells so much
eternal moments of unstained truth
return to us as in our youth

when with open heart we'd always find
the essence of every other kind
the sameness that joins us deep down under
restoring at once what's been split asunder

to put it together, to make it complete
amid darkened souls who ever compete
for the powers born of innocence
never contained in their lesser sense

They want to have and hold and smother
the fire that burns within the other
instead of feeding that delicate flame
to them, as possession, it's all the same

They'll never know the unearthly joy
that comes to those who would employ
that compassionate feeling that will engender
the knowing of others in all their splendor

the silent touch of empathy
inclined to deepest sympathy
empowers us as nothing can
across the moat, a bridge will span

and a wilder, wider, spectacular view
a brand new vision of the old and the new
will on our flight to other realms
arch o'er the abyss that overwhelms

A bridge made stronger with each passing step
that others may follow 'cross the chasm we leapt
in safety and strength and sureness of purpose
the path ever widens, our courage the buttress

Or is it that the chasm's depths
as fear upon fear is formed into steps
grows smaller as we rise above
with hand upon hand, united in love

as we move through our darkened veil
on silver wings we dare to sail
to alternate realities
where energies are verities

o'er fields of bending wind-swept grass
touching the spirit of each life passed
to lands of inspiration bound
where soul and body as one are found

where worlds fly by in gusts of air
possibilities, the fates' affair
and best of all, the truth is known
we really belong, we're a seed that's been sown

and nurtured and cared for and gently encouraged
to live, love and grow, so at last we emerge
into starlight and moon beams and angel dust
with our feet planted firmly upon the earth's crust

where opened heart can freely expand
in brotherhood, when war is banned
and hands are joined in jubilation
to celebrate unity in our nation

III.
When all alone in wilderness
no human voice to soothe distress
a small red journal served sublimation
became my means of communication

and in my loneliness I found
the journal's comfort midst silent sound
in this journal I wrote my private thoughts
recording what the wilderness taught

of love, of life, of meaning's quest
never to cease to search for rest

This communion with my soul would send me
to inner depths beyond perceiving
of mortal eyes or ears or senses
beyond the world of mere pretenses

Alone, I touched the subtle realms
where gentle motion overwhelms
at last I saw the truth of living
in this wilderness, so freely giving

We, too, have before us a new frontier
Will courage fail to endless fear
or will we gladly risk the loss
of pain and suffering on the cross

of the paradox that endows all life
with ceaseless, sterile, straining strife?
The question was never "To be, or not"
but HOW will we be when offered the lot

of life's ever changing, continuous options
we alone are creators of all our concoctions
If to each his own, what goes to the other
when we are her own, all born of one mother

Are we worthy?
Can we see beyond our gluttonous greed?
Must we continue to make the earth bleed
for our great avarice, cupidity?
Are we seeped in such stupidity

to think that all should bow and bend
to one as lowly as a man
with ego swelled and unearned pride
the wise among us can only sigh

and continue quietly through endless days
to give examples of worthier ways
to stand in stillness mid riotous throng
bringing peace while standing strong

unnoticed by the multitude
untainted by collective mood
a quiet circle of serenity
to offer to eternity

and eternity listens…

and who upon this earth can say
that they have found a better way
of easing strife, healing wounds so deep
as the soul heals the body while we sleep

while in and through this mortal space
the angels send us wisdom, grace
potential possibilities
amidst our incongruities

The inner eye will comprehend
the service given without end
as shamans heal, asking no pay
they live their life in a different way

nourished by their nourishing
touching the heart, ever flourishing
knowing the giving is grander by far
receiving the light of a distant star

finding pain is sweet when born upon
compassion joined to everyone
when the mob becomes the multitude
feasting on such spiritual food

This circle of serenity
midst suffering humanity
they give to all that will receive
the trick, the power, is to believe

to let the faith that dormant lay
swell inside, the soul pervade
when each culture, each denomination
remembers - together we form a nation

IV.
A holy man named Kicking Bird
wise beyond the mass, the herd
contained compassion within his heart
enough to use his healing art

to mend the rift 'tween white and red
and teach that each on their merit will stand
fighting all others' generalization
as I looked in his eyes dawned the realization

that color and culture and religious vocation
only stand in the way of communication
no matter the background, the language, the race
we are all one people, bound in this grace

that brings together every living creature
from lowly sinner to grandiose preacher
equalizing variations, allowing dignity
no one can claim divinity, when all are seen in honesty

I was a stranger in this awesome land
he trusted me, asking only to understand
A bond was formed, a deep love blossomed
as we came to see the other's custom

Among his people, my wife I found
under spacious sky, our marriage was bound
we'd love each other long as life allowed
no paper, no law, could match our vow

She was white yet she had been befriended
by the Sioux when her family's lives were ended
by a different tribe, a savage line
Just as whites find savages among their kind

the reds had the Pawnee to suffer
the Sioux consoled, sharing all they could offer
More than friends, they were family
till against all forms of sanity

white troops invaded this cherished place
this home we'd made in open space
All I wanted was to live in peace with my new family found
I would not rend the fabric knit on their sacred ground

to protect my new life, I tried to reclaim
my journal of progress pursued since I came
knowing the army would ne'er comprehend
the choices I'd made that had led me to blend

white man with red man, to live as their brother
I knew in my heart I was not like the others
surprised, as I hastened to cover my tracks
I found that there was no turning back

I was captured, imprisoned, beaten, abused
by my "own kind" of people who only accused
My own called me traitor, would hang me for treason
their lust for power the only reason

and worst of all, as they led me away
my friend, Two Socks, could not stay away
as he followed along, followed me as his friend,
they shot him down for sport and then

so clearly in his end I saw
the treachery of white man's law
that satisfies the rich and greedy
and never leads to their perceiving

the right, the just, the honest, the meek
they never searched their souls to seek
the way all must in the end mature
beyond the herd, their soul ensure

to reach higher levels of integrity
the breadth of true prosperity
that finds pure joy in ecstasy
beyond the two polarities

of black and white or day and night
the middle way of calm insight
As much as modern men deny
and never stop to question why

the truth of us was built upon
the blood of many an innocent one
How do men convince themselves
they have the right to murder wolves?

If integrity we would forsake
if unknowing, uncaring we'd let our life take
that turn for the worse, the easy out
what would life's meaning be all about?

As I sat in chains, in cold iron bound
all hope had fled, when I heard the sound
of horses' hooves and Indian cries
and lo and behold, I saw on the rise

my friends, my new family, coming to free me
with the government guns that I had shared freely
A time of victory, of justice this day
before white men took their home away

I never dreamt I would see a day
when I would hope and feel and pray
for the death of patriotic comrades
at the hands of roaming Indian nomads

yet red and white had synthesized
within my soul, were equalized
My captors paid for their injustice
the Sioux became their nemesis

The joy I felt when the tribe was sighted
the love as we were reunited
under sacred sky, the Indian's dome
but this could no longer be my home…

I could never let these people suffer
after all they'd given and shared and offered
my presence among them would surely bring
the wrath of white hunters, more suffering

As vulture's claws reach for its prey
I would be hunted through endless days
because I'd betrayed authority's dictum
unable to believe in the white man's system

And the scene as I left I will always remember
my friend on his mount, his voice rose in crescendo
These were the words
he cried over and over:

"I am your friend. I will always be your friend!"
rang through the canyon, with chill shiver descended
down my spine, to the base
to the deepest place

as it surged through my being
blind with tears of unseeing
my home left behind
knowing not what I'd find

but leave I must
these friends I trust
to journey long to heights untraveled
as the meaning to my life unraveled

To follow the spirit wherever it goes
cross rivers, up mountains, through deepest snows
is a quest of the heart and the mind and the soul
while amongst the thorns, a rose will grow.

The path we tread leads higher still
we climb as if against all will
yet never far enough to rend
to leave humanity behind

And higher up the mountain tread
a few of us have gone ahead
willingly, we take this chance
to find that place where wolves still dance…

? Michaelette ?

Copyright© 1998 Michaelette L. Romano
All rights reserved
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