2016 09 09
Down on the river shore in evening light
that glimmers through the wind-blown leaves of trees
I see salmon and ravens dance in flight
where Onatah sings in refreshing breeze.
In dew-wet meadows where the morning sun
gleams sparkling in the eyes of every child
she sings with joy, filling baskets with corn,
sweet Onatah who charms all with her smiles.
Through willow trees that sway in swirling breath
she sings an ancient spell that water is life,
then gives me turtle shell she won from death,
graceful Onatah who will be my wife.
I kneel and offer her large bag of seeds,
and show the hall I built where she may dwell,
so she gives me new necklace of bright beads,
gentle Onatah of the river dell.
She reaches out her hand to touch my face
and then we kiss to seal our hearts with love
while sweet girls dance in rings and wild boys race,
wise Onatah who shines in stars above.
Down on the river shore in gold moonlight
we dance around the marriage fire of hope
while singers chant old tales of wrong and right,
then Onatah binds our two hearts with rope.
I hold her in my arms while stars shine bright
and gaze into her eyes that beam the world
when bullet pierces her heart and she falls,
shocked Onatah bleeding in my numb arms.
The fire of life that glitters in her eyes
burns out in gloom of horror and despair
and then I stumble in the burning haze,
bearing Onatah from the blazing fight.
Down on the river shore in bleeding dawn,
after the horsemen burned our thriving town,
I bury my love in the field of corn,
lost Onatah sleeping in their white roots.
In the whisper of wind I hear her voice,
in the golden corn I taste her sweet smile,
in the river I see her ghost still play,
good Onatah, corn maiden of our land.