I strung dazzling thrones · of thunder beingson a spiraling thread · of spinning flight,beading dawn's blood · and blue of noonto the gold and dark · of day's leaving,circling with sun · the soaring heavenover turquoise eyes · of Earth belowher silver veins, her sable fur,heard human relatives · hunting beneathcalling me down, crying their needthat I bring them closer · to Wakonda's ways,and I turned from heaven · to help them then.When the bullet came · it caught my heart,the hunter's hands · gave Earth its blood,loosened light beings, and let us floattoward the sacred center · of song in the drum,but fixed us first · firm in tree-heartthat green knife-dancers · gave to men's knives,ash-heart in hiding where · a deer's heart had beat,and a one-eyed serpent · with silver-straight headstrung tiny rattles · around white softnessin beaded harmonies · of blue and red --now I move lightly · in a man's left hand,above dancing feet · follow the sunaround old songs · soaring toward heavenon human breath · and I help them rise.
This poem offers thanks for the honor of being given eagle feathers which were then set into a beaded fan. It tells how the eagle in flight pierces clouds just as a beadworker's needle goes through bead or buckskin, spiraling round sky or fan-handle -- and how the eagle flies from dawn to sunset, linking day and night colors as they are linked on a Gourd Dancer's blanket (half crimson, half blue), and as they are linked in the beading of the fan's handle. The poem's form is the alliterative meter used by the Anglo-Saxon tribes, and its mode is the Anglo-Saxon 'riddle,' in which mysterious names are given to ordinary things: here trees are green light-dancers, wood is tree-heart or ash-heart, clouds are thrones of thunder-beings. I hope the one-eyed serpent will find its name in the reader's memory.