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"Corn Mother"

Corn Mother,
My white hair lifts and bristles in this smoke
like feathers blown from wings of thistle flowers
and I am dreaming as the fire falls low,
too spent to strike a spark from brittle embers.

Do you see him, whose spirit rose like mist
and drifted through the smoke hole into vast
untroubled valleys that have never felt the feet
of those who draw the heavy breath of life
and mourn for him whose vigor could not last?
Eyes bright with tears when the worn moon grows thin
turn shadows into sunlight on the long
sweet path we walked together, till I see
him standing strong again and warrior-straight,
proud as an oak tree newly greened with leaves.

Corn Mother,
Tell me he walks wide trails in Spirit Land
and waits for me to come where willows bend
above deep waters that reflect my long black hair,
my glad young smile. Tell me that he will take my hand
and lead me to a valley where springtime never ends.

I hear, outside, the long call of the owl
but not for me, He does not call my name.
Inside these walls the shadows prance and prowl;
they have grown bolder as they watch the fading flame.
Across the hills the hungry coyotes howl
as I sit beside these coals, remembering
the light and warmth of fires that we once knew.
And as the shadows deepen and the ashes lose their glow
I dream of splendid fires that I shall tend anew
and call to you for answers that I do not know.
Tell me my eyes are clear and I am dreaming true,
Corn Mother.

Nell S. Jenkins
June 1995

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