dear walt

by Connie Fife

it must have been difficult
to be caught in the grip
of strong willed metaphors
who dictated that you
live as an outsider
in a country you so
wanted to breathe into
dear walt
i imagine you actually
believed that poetry can
make a democracy smeared
with the blood of others
into some kind of beauty
now you have become the dust
you wrote about us being
so little has changed
we who are poets
still believe we shift hearts
while speaking through the voice
of stone and water
not even paralysis drove
your spirit away
nor the illness of a brother
in a world without compassion
dear walt
is it ever possible to escape
metaphor or change a democracy
whose foundation digs into the bones of her original people
i would like to know walt
if there is a place for dead poets
where we can lie among leaves of grass
then laugh at how little has changed

An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English

Last updated December 19, 2022