October 15, 2007
In the '90s, I came across this wonderful book of poems and prose about Mother Earth. Compiled into Earth Prayers, the book eventually spawned a collection of music, aptly titled Earth Songs. If anything, the book led me on a merry, inspiring search for Native American wisdom and writings. I'm sharing some with you guys in observance of Blog Action Day...
Oh Great Spirit [Chief Yellow Lark, Lakota Tribe]
Oh Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me!
I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother
but to fight my greatest enemy--myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when lilfe fades, as the fading sunset
my spirit may come to you
Earth Prayer [Black Elk, Oglala Sioux]
Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold
me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice.
You lived first, and you are older than all
need, older than all prayer. All things belong
to you--the two-legged, the four-legged, the
wings of the air, and all green things that live.
You have set the powers of the four quarters
of the earth to cross each other. You have
made me cross the good road and the road of
difficulties, and where they cross, the place is
holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are
the life of things.
Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice.
At the center of the sacred hoop
You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.
With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
With running eyes I must say
The tree has never bloomed.
Here I stand, and the tree is withered.
Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.
It may be that some little root of the sacred
tree still lives.
Nourish it then
That it may leaf
And fill with singing birds!
Hear me, that the people may once again
Find the good road
And the shielding tree.