Aug 15, 2009

A poem...

This year I went with my older sister and my father to the graduation of the high school where they teach. I have a friend who graduated this year at the school, so I went to take part in her day. It's a small town high school which sort of makes it feel like home. :)
The school is almost completely Native American and this year they incorporated some Indian rituals into the graduation. One of them being mainly three to four men or boys beating one large, round drum and singing. Quite a cultural experience, I assure you. But that is the one thing that really bothered me.
A ritual they preformed while beating the drum and singing was turning to the north, south, east, and west, which is supposed to symbolize seeking knowledge from the four directions. And this being a graduation after which the graduates would be entering the real world, it seemed to fit. The guests who wanted to could join in. I think my dad, sister, and I were the only one's who didn't, so at one point all the guests where facing directly toward us, face to face. It felt a little awkward. :) That didn't bother me quite as much as the steady, pounding rhythm of that drum, though. I could feel my heart beating along with every pound, the high pitched voices ringing in my ears. I had never felt anything so immoblizing in my life, nor felt like I had been so blatantly drug into something. I was glad when it was over. It's false praise to a non-existent god, who can't hear, see, walk, or feel. It made a lasting impression upon me, and one that I don't want to feel again.
When we got home, I began this poem, but I never finished it until just recently. It's about an Indian boy.
The Burning Drum

The leaping flames burn deep and long
At that heart within a heart
How wayward with its pleasure stands
As its wailing soul departs

I watch the burning drum with hate
No tears have I to shed
The fires of hell will not dispel
Nor in homage bow its head

The wood and hide burn not alone
It’s a life I have denounced
A seething, evil pit of dark
I’ve torn it from its mount

I curse the day I found it whole
And weep that I fell prey
The lies it told that I believed
That left me trampled in the way

No grave can keep the burning drum
No headstone in remembrance
For I’ve forgotten worldly fears
Before no idol I shall dance

No praise to give the burning drum
I’ll tread the path unknown
I’ll listen to the screams of death
But no more sorrow shall be shown

The burning drum gave way to ash
With the wind it’s swept away
I shall remember never more
My life begins today

2 comments:

Denielle Johnson said...

Powerful words, Kayla ~ thank you for sharing! Love you :)

Laura said...

Those Indian "spiritual" traditions are so enslaving, aren't they? Being on the rez really drives it home for you... great poem. I like it.