Wiikwemkoong

Wiikwemkoong

The three dogs gather round,

they sniff and nuzzle, lick and wag.

You name “red dog” “white wolf” and

“bouncy pup” and follow in their tracks.

They lead you and your careful wife among a strew of trilliums.

The dappled light the warm Spring air the hidden birds the smell of firs

the violets and the maple shoots all fold you in their spell.

We feel your feet about to roll, as if you were at one with us.

Let us advise, just be yourself and tread the way you can.

You rest awhile beside a sign about a homestead hereabouts.

The people lived and left some four score years ago.

Their spirits are at peace and gathered in a greater stream.

We hear you start to understand.

Why did you grasp that rock,

a limestone rock from long ago

and drop it with a crack that broke

the peace and flew the birds?

It split along the line you chose

but did you find the shells you sought?

Your instinct to destroy is deep.

You have so much to learn.

Another couple catch you up,

they’re younger fitter strong.

‘The dogs are not with us,’ you say

instead of greeting well.

White wolf red dog and bouncy pup

all stay and walk with you.

Now further on, a higher edge,

you look out wide across the lake.

Anishinaabeg take these routes

our ancestors passed on.

For Huron is as much a road

as any way between the trees.

Your wife decides to paint the scene

with dyes we do not know.

Red dog lies down beside the path,

the others have gone home.

When painting’s done and blackflies bite

you will return to your own place.

Red dog keeps watch until you leave.

© David Cundall

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