The Sun Speaks of Her Lover

(a Cherokee myth)

Alone, by darkness, and without a name,
My lover came to lie with me each night,
But kept his fervent face so out of sight,
I wondered from which tribe and clan he came.
So, with the ash of embers from my flame,
I brushed his cheek before his morning flight.
Next day, I saw. He now lives far, in shame.
No longer are we ever found together.
So marked we are, we neither seek another.
Forgive me, that I gave my love too soon.
All Heaven stands between us, since: the weather,
The warmth, the winds, and time. He is my brother,
That one the Principal People call the Moon.

To Timothy Murphy, Regarding Russell and Remington

I tell you, Tim – if manly Charlie Russell
And Frederic Remington were still around,
The former, at-it with his gaucho muscle –
The latter, at-it with his Indian mound –
Each one would lay aside his paints, immerse
His brush in turpentine, pick up your verse,
And, having read one line, would cry, “Astound-
Ing!” Mine? Each man would mouth it as he frowned,
Mind wandering to desert regions cursed
By women trading wampum counterfeit,
And turn aside to brass spittoons, and spit.
Their jaws, they’d clench, their booted toes, they’d curl,
Pretending not to recognize a girl
To mutter, in those male minds, “Mother Wit!”