In recognition of Native American Heritage Month (November), here is a poem about something integral to Native America that is often missing from the hurried, competitive, acquisitive lifestyles of so many of the rest of us: living in harmony with nature.

the cradle

in his early months
he lived 
much like a turtle
in its shell 

though his was made of oak and cloth
with playthings dangling
here and there
that he could touch and move

he spent much time in nature
up against a tree
suspended from a branch
or on his mother’s back
observing all the colors
and the shapes
and listening 
to the novel sounds
around him

sometimes he was visited by birds
exploring a new cooing sound

but mostly he just sat
and watched the drama 
that took place around him
and the animals 
that never seemed to mind
his movements
or his sounds
and always answered 
with their own
as if to say
we too can play

now sitting motionless
now in a gentle breeze 
that tossed his cradle to and fro
he would converse
with birds 
and dogs
and squirrels
groundhogs too

in the poetry of life

From Into the Wind © 2021 Charles Schlee

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