Saturday, December 28, 2013

Totem Poles

Totem Poles

Hand-crafted faces speak the past
Skilled men wield adze to spruce to last
Curved eagle or straight raven beak
From past, hand-crafted faces speak

They’re carved and formed, from single log
Show clans: bear, beaver, fox and frog
Red, turquoise, black and white—the norm
From single log, they’re carved and formed

From top, a human figure warns
Of dangers, thieves, or of life’s thorns
Against all debtors, like a cop
A human figure warns from top

Six types of poles, the totems claim
There’s Lineage, Story, Honor, Shame,
Event, and Grave—the dead extols
The totems claim six types of poles

The Carver knows their mystery
The Commissioner—their history
The totems do not read like prose
Their mystery, the Carver knows

The Totems stand for so much more
Of pride and sorrow, shore to shore
They speak of who once owned the land
For so much more, the totems stand

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