Song for Wovoka

Having followed much of the protest of the Dakota Pipeline at Standing Rock, I was pleasantly surprised to find a poem in my journal archives that reaches back almost twenty-five years. I can’t pull to memory, what exactly it was that inspired the creation of this poem. It was almost certainly written while journaling with my students at that time. It ¬†seems to me that I was doing some reading about the Sioux at the time, but any specific title now escapes me. Just the same, it’s worth bringing forward and sharing, especially if it inspires anyone to go in search of the story of Wovoka and the Ghost Dance.



Ghost Dance

They dance with spirits
That haunt ancient minds
Apparitions of holiness
Phantasms of time

Blend into one circle
Earth, Wind
Fire, Rain
They speak of no pleasure
They sing of no pain

Tread softly on clouds
That scrape desert floors
Ride thunderbolt ponies
Ghost braves of great wars

Send spirit to eagles
That glide round the moon
Send courage to women
Left lonely too soon