MOUNDS OF THE CHOCTAW

Posted: October 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
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The picture below is the Indian Mound discovered with a friend of my family, who was a Geologist, in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, near the Tangipahoa River, where my parents had a summer place and I grew up along her banks.  The Poem is a true account of what transpired after this Geologist and I discovered the remains of an ancient Indian tribe called the “Acolapissa” who were of Muskogean stock and closely related to Choctaw and Chickasaw, once abundant in the area in the 1680’s before the French and Spanish settlers came and depleted their numbers drastically.  This memory is to keep alive what I encountered that day and has forever stayed with me.  I was only fifteen years old at the time.

 

MOUNDS OF THE CHOCTAW

I was fifteen

when Choctaw history

sifted through sensitive, youthful hands

gathered soiled remnants

of an old Indian Mound ~

silence never stands still in weeping sands

along with a Geologist, unearthed treasures

powers we could never understand

wondering if we disturbed

some great warrior’s sacred burial ground

near the banks of the Tangipahoa sound

waters of lost childhood never recede

no less a wounded, rippling stream

    of mournful dream

He told me of a tribe once“the corncob people,”

the Acolapissa Choctaw

Conqueror DeSoto “discovered” in 1680

reported back to Spain what he “saw”

nothing for peace offered to appease

bearing no gifts, merely foreign disease

the area soon wiped barren~ morbidly clean

nothing of primitive lives left ere’ more

now an ancestral existence breathed back to life

from artifacts entombed in a hilltop, earthen floor

yet sadly gone their numbers, scattered

(they were given no choice)

have we now lost the River’s calling

    of their ancient, torn voice?

I stood there in quivering shadow

a shaken lament of childish brokenness

laid the sand down, ever softly

sensed a searing moment of infinite emptiness

as though everything could possibly still recoil

from white man’s wield and bullet of swift,

unfathomable painfulness

beside clumps of clay pottery and stone arrowheads

dust doesn’t rest ~ stirs in footfalls where elders once tread

emotions swirling in misty oblivion

praying our race be now forgiven

wishing to secretly hear Chickasaw chants

tumble outward from infinity, and within

upon groans of once roaming herds

migrating the fields before their fateful circumstance

seeds of hate planted from needless, greedy wars

into a pocket of cosmic tears ~ evolution pours

rides again the spotted backs

    of distant, Seminole winds

Upon leaving

my heart beat many broken drums

shifting took place inside aching lungs

it was then, I knew, they spoke

through me in twisted, spirit tongues

lingering whispers of warped, crippled Souls

embedded in grievous, azure skies,

where imprints of humanity’s foils and fate

thunders ~ never dies; only repeats eternally

all that was left to sing, never sung

from dispersed sands of time

the grains I left behind,

and the ones I would always

    carry inside ~ was it a sign?

I believed

it was their final Great Spirit Dance decree

bursting through eonic-flames of enduring infamy

fragments I heard then (and hear still)

of ancient voices bordering Pleiades’ symphony

bleeding echoes keep alive this fragile memory

a prayer only they could answer

         that now follows, relentless,

scrapes my bones in remembrance of

    all mortality,

                  forever haunting me …

~ ~ ~

© Copyright 2011 ♥Susan Joyner-Stumpf

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