February 20, 2017

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DO NOT WASTE WORDS: POETRY BY RAND SCOTT

DO NOT WASTE WORDS: POETRY BY RAND SCOTT

 Photo courtesy of Carlisle-www.army.mil

 

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Do       Not       Waste        Words

Like bits of lead that tear through the flesh

of women

 of children

on stolen fields by Sand Creeks or Wounded Knees

words       are       specific.

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Painting: Lyle Miller, Sr. “A Meeting of the Grandfathers”.

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From the big rock and flowing waters

as long as the sun shall shine

you will live the ways you always do

as promised by our written names.*

A scrap of paper dishonoured

by men clothed in buttoned suits

shedding promises like snakes

shedding skin

Backs sway like falling timber

as they drift away

Treaty words in pockets

the tonic of stolen land

We wither in ‘homes’ without heat

in ‘homes’ without running water

in ‘homes’ without electricity

in rooms coated with weary bodies.

Our words

bleed to silence

as quickly as our children

are lowered into the earth.

*Variations of these words are found in many North American Treaty documents. For example, it is written in the 1794 Mi’kmaq Treaty,  “Henchforth I will provide for you, and for the future generations as long as the Sun rises and rivers flow.” We are not the Savages (p189).

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About The Author

Oral history has Rand’s great-great-grandmother, Mercy Anne, travelling from the community of Tyendinaga, Mohawk Territory, to the Kennebec, Ontario area, with 6 girls and one boy, possibly to escape a world no longer hers. He is a graduate of the Aboriginal Studies and English Literature programs at the University of Toronto. He also holds a Certificate in Creative Writing from the School of Continuing Studies at the U/T. He is currently looking for a publisher for his recently completed book of poetry, Red Against the Dawn.

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