Monday, 11 of December of 2017

Category » Philip Wright

Philip Wright – High Plains

This is the land of the Indian Paintbrush,
a place with more centuries than the days
of Man.
At sunset there falls onto this land
a wonderful desolation.
Slanting sunlight turns arroyos to black
currents in a sea of tall, yellow grass,
and gold dust swirls on silver winds
to weave the strands of night.
It is a glimpse of eternity:
a coveted moment of awareness between
the Within and unconfined Beyond.
I sit high upon an outcrop pondering
a death worth mentioning.

Not long ago across this vast plain hunted men
touched by the pathos of their quarry.
With ritual and travail they purified themselves
in preparation of the chase.
For in the dark reality of life eating life
the blood of sustenance must be cleansed
in reverence.
They hunted in awe.
They killed with remorse.
And they celebrated success with thanksgiving,
not to God,
but to the animals they killed.

Then came a migration of humanity
disconnected from earth,
singing the metaphor of Genesis,
and taking what cannot be owned.
These also hunted.
But there was no reverence in the eyes peering
over the white man’s rifles.

The migration continues with an army
of hunters.
They shoot from trucks into herds
of confused antelope.
At night they lift a beer and toast the hunt.
But no one speaks of the young doe
gut-shot and running until tripping
in her own entrails.
Lying now in the dust.
Gone with the sun.

Philip Wright

Philip Wright – The Red Buffalo

When Wildfire ran forever,
before our Westward-Ho,
Native Americans knew it
as the Red Buffalo.
Then came the pilgrims of progress
fleeing persecution,
God’s own white man:
the Crown of Evolution.

They cleared the land of Natives
with applied genocide,
and changed the Natural Order
with traps and cyanide.
They claimed the precious soil
with axes and deceit,
and introduced the eco-ethic
of the balance sheet.

A drumming beat summons
Eagle, Wolf, Arapaho;
The Circle is waiting
For the Red Buffalo.

Commerce marches on
with no sign of stopping
our competitive consumption
and aerobic shopping.
Yet to starving masses
we’re so damned thick-skinned
we let our cow-feeding fields
waste away on the wind.

And multinational bankers
trade a currency of disgrace,
killing tribal cultures
with a lap-top data base.
They are the Christian soldiers
spreading democracy
for global competition
and political hypocrisy.

Broken spirits weep
and dreams escape
from the unsustainable madness
of planetary rape.
When their babies die of hunger
and they’re begging on their knees
we’ll ship them toxic garbage
in exchange for all their trees.

We stand at the abyss
Watching Eternity flow
As fires of anger rage
In the Red Buffalo.

One delightful moon-mad night
within our lunatic dreams
we’ll wake ourselves up choking
on each other’s screams.
We will stand upon the gallows
of what we have let loose,
for Nature gladly gave us
both–the rope, and the noose.

Unwept and forgotten
On greed’s death row
Dreaming of revenge
Is the Red Buffalo.

When unquenchable fires
on Wild Prairies rise
from Earth’s stirring bones
and unquiet eyes,
Bison will again thunder
like a rolling drum,
as Dust Winds shake
and Snake Rattles hum.

Honor our Earth
Or you will know
The avenging flame
Of the Red Buffalo.

Philip Wright

The Red Buffalo was written as a tribute to the Illinois State University chapter of EF! which chose that name for their new chapter.

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