Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Red River


I run through heart of the land, muddy, brackish, moving birch canoes, from dawn to dusk.    


i hang a red dress 
its folds billowing spiritual dance 

along grainy shores  

forked by roots of ancient trees 
i burn sagebrush

and i


count the years passing

of voices forever silenced 
stolen sisters, missing daughters-

only heartbeat of river remains-


I crawl with broken bones, washing away blood, footprints, sun-scarred skin under dark moon.   



Each year, dozens of Canadian Aboriginal women are murdered or disappear never to be seen again. Some end up in a river that runs through the heart of Winnipeg.


Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - Poetics:  The River, hosted by guest host, Paul Dear.   And Happy World Poetry Day!   Thanks for the visit ~

37 comments:

  1. Can't even imagine, has to be hard never knowing. Whack jobs out there.

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  2. Oh my Grace. This is heart-wrenching. I love how you connect the Red with ritual and with death. It is a sad tale and carried by the river. Beautifully written. Thank You.

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  3. Very moving and beautifully done Grace xxx

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  4. I had heard about this sadness.. it's been featured even in Swedish newspapers. Love the form with the long lines framing the shorter ones.

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  5. Nice memorial to the women murdered found along this river.

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  6. Your words are so poignant and touching. I will be researching "Red River Women" to learn more. Thank you.

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  7. What a moving write... beautiful and with purpose

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  8. An amazing poem, Grace, and what a story lies behind it! I love the symbolism of the red dress and burning sagebrush.

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  9. This is not America's Red River I presume? Your poem is incredible, like a Native song retold around campfires, flowing malevolent & metaphoric.

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    1. No, this is Canadian. Thanks Glenn.

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  10. Firstly well done for putting the spotlight on such an horrific situation. I, as I'm sure many people are, was totally unaware of this and read the link you put up. Secondly what you have written is a stark and simple moving poem to the plight of these people. May it find a significantly wider audience.

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  11. That is tragic, but how you contrasted the missing women and holes in hearts they make with the eternal flow of the river. Intensely beautiful, Grace.

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  12. This is so beautiful and poignant both at the same time.. sigh..

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  13. Oh, I am haunted by those "stolen sisters, missing daughters."

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    1. (This is incredibly gorgeous work, Grace. As always.)

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  14. The contrast between the man-made evil and the majesty of the river and its setting is beautiful.

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  15. lovely tribute to forgotten women, stories left untold by their disappearance. I felt something stir with the words red dress like a warning bell before I got to the end, you write with amazing reverence to life. I am very touched by this new knowledge and understanding.

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  16. Even before your comment, I knew there was something wrong. There are so many red rivers.

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  17. So very moving Grace. Beautiful and full of homage for lives lost

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  18. The red dress, the spiritual dance, and the loss of the women in the river..........a beautiful tribute, and reminder, of those lost sisters.

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  19. What a powerful tribute to the memory of these women

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  20. tragic. the silence of the river somehow scares me.

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  21. This is really powerful. I was moved before I read the inspiration, doubly moved afterwards.

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  22. The red dress is such a potent image for this collective horror, and there's an almost mythic distance between speaker and subject, for our sakes perhaps, or for the truth's, or the river.

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  23. Woah. I didn't know about that. Thank you for sharing the info about the Red River Women. Intriguing piece, Grace!

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  24. Love this graceful poem...the Mexican border, too, has stories of women lost. All rivers have their stories, sad and beautiful.

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  25. Rivers of subsistence
    Rivers of death
    Rivers
    of
    DArk
    liGht
    as Rivers FLow
    SiNk of Life Swims
    Rivers edge.. Deeper more..
    LiGht
    oF
    DArk..:)

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  26. This was powerful before I read the explanation. And then....a river of bones and blood. This is a heartbreaking and haunting piece.

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  27. How heartbreaking. Your writing honored them well. Thank you. Have a beautiful week.

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  28. The red dress, flowing river, native blood shed...haunting write!

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  29. stolen sisters, missing daughters-
    only heartbeat of river remains

    Nameless and missing, sorely missed by family members but not by others. They are not ranked high in society obviously!

    Hank

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  30. Beautiful, and poignant. I remember I read about it... It's so sad, and terrible.

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  31. Powerful and poignant ... an important piece about an ongoing horrific Canadian tragedy and national disgrace. The writing in this: superlative.

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  32. Very poignantly written....a very troubling problem.

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