This week we learned about a mass grave site with the remains of at least 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, at a boarding school for Indigenous children. I was emailing a dear friend about this on Monday night, started reading a Mary Oliver collection when I crawled into bed shortly after, and found this poem almost immediately.

The Arrowhead

The arrowhead,
which I found beside the river,
was glittering and pointed.
I picked it up, and said,
“Now, it’s mine.”
I thought of showing it to friends.
I thought of putting it – such an imposing trinket –
in a little box, on my desk.
Halfway home, past the cut fields,
the old ghost
stood under the hickories.
“I would rather drink the wind,” he said,
“I would rather eat mud and die
than steal as you still steal,
than lie as you still lie.”

Why I Wake Early, Mary Oliver

Friends, I closed my Kindle, scooted down into my bed, and closed my eyes. What a gut punch.

“I would rather eat mud and die
than steal as you still steal,
than lie as you still lie.”
(the bolding and italics are my own)

I am still so new to poetry and am shocked at how often poetry speaks to the moment we’re in. I’m grateful that so many people are open to hearing difficult and painful stories of the past – and are willing to believe and honor them. There is so much to learn and we have a long road ahead of us.

7 thoughts

  1. Even before I had scrolled down and saw your emphasis, I read it the same way. It’s such a powerful poem. The book I have been reading the past few days is about native people in Australia and how they were treated over centuries. As hard as it is to face these realities, I hope that we continue to do so. We can undo the atrocities that were committed, but we can recognize that they were atrocities and seek to make reparations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Still is such a powerful word, isn’t it. I love how poems find us when we need them, where we are, and thank you for sharing this one.

    Like

  3. Wow… yes, that poem is a gut punch. Thank you so much for sharing! (I am printing this one and putting it into my journal… such powerful words!)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s