field notes ➤ Louis Littlecoon Oliver, 1990

❝ Rededication

Greencorn, ripe with browning silks
marking the new year of
Sage old men of the old Creek nation
Kowakogee, Walesa and Saba
Lame and crutched
Trudge to the old country
from which their ancestors were driven like cattle.
they go to see
That ancient paradise
Once a land of milk and honey
They go to dedicate their lives anew
with the ancient ones
to see the dead raised in old haunts
to see the great communal fields
to hear the drum and old chants.
No river too wide or canyons too deep;
for a fish will part the waters
and the mind dovetail the canyon’s banks
together with a song.
Singing too on the turtle path
joining with bear and deer trails.
The hawk seeking quail
and the woodlands, mana
The “little people” guiding them.
The old rock land-mark glowed
With blood blotched petroglyphs
on their approach to Chattahoche.
Old Alibama mushroom wrinkles,
a hundred years growth
greets them as if but yesterday
Smelling of redroot in his blood
Sits with them in a circle
after the fast—after the medicine
and then the quiet séance.
A low rumble in bowels of the earth
Old warrior bones sprout—
take on flesh
tens of thousands—braves, chiefs
brother tribes
Euchee, Cherokee, Choctaw
Shawnee and Chickasaw.
Old friends—Mochesoke
Katcha emathla, Tecumseh, Watashe;
Old wives, Wisey, Yana, Tooske
and Poloke.
The gourd chimes a requiem
red tears from the sun
rocks moan and split
day curtain—night curtain rent
moon pales to naught
winds roar without sound.
The great valley swallows its bones,
The oldmen, star showered, awaken
to the last song of the all night dance;
a rooster crows
a turkey gobbles
little yellow birds twitter
the sunlight. ❞

Chasers of the Sun: Creek Indian Thoughts
by Louis Littlecoon Oliver
(Greenfield Review Press, 1990)

One thought on “field notes ➤ Louis Littlecoon Oliver, 1990

  1. James-
    what a wonderful poem. I went to my garden this morning. The corn stood tall and wafted like flags in a cool breeze after days of stifling heat. As I rounded the far edge admiring these tall beautiful hokte standing proudly offering their sustanence, on the ground was a corn plant taken down in the night by wotko who obviously was signaling, “pick your garden little sister or I’ll get it all tonight.” So, I spent the morning picking, shucking, boiling, scraping, and freezing to remember summer’s gifts in the middle of winter. Imagine how delightful to open my e-mail and read this wonderful tribute to Mvskoke Nene here in the deep south.

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