We Begin to Hear the Kalevala
I think my head might start to sing, recite, relate a kinsman's tale, enchant with family canticles. The words de-ice, flow out my mouth, the sentence forms are flurries pouring forth in scatters through my lips; they glance across my teeth. Come with me and sing with me, recite, relate a tale with me as kindred mind to kindred mind. Come clap with me, let fingers snap in time with me, that here the young may come to know our words, our tales, our stories drawn from old smith's forge, from shaman's belt, from brand and bow, from desert lands, from hearth and heath and human heart.
On the Milky Way in velvet skies
now walk the souls that lived and died;
it bears them to the earth below,
to these mountains crowned with snow.
Christ has sent the winds of peace,
bade the war and violence cease;
he brings to morning living rain,
brings the bison to the plain,
bears the dead to earth below,
from evening stars to crowns of snow.
But feel the darkness in the land!
The venom in the heart of man!
How will the serpent treat the dove,
the bearer of the songs of love?
The prophet dances, agents lie,
in battlefields the people die
with bullets in their hearts and hands,
their blood poured out to wet the lands;
from mountains crowned with shining snow
their spirits flee the earth below.
A prophet once was crucified
and on that tree he bled and died
as jeers beneath the bloody cross
were mocking him for pain and loss.
He was the Christ; the Roman lance
had pierced him for his spirit dance.
There was a people, proud and tall,
sun-like, hopeful, worthy all,
made the prey of Hotchkiss guns,
score by score and one by one,
for dancing in the winter snow
to bring the spirits here below.
What may live may also die.
What may laugh may also cry.
But what may die may also rise
beneath the starlight in the skies
and hunt and dance and play the games
to which their fathers gave the names;
and Christ upon a path of light
will come again some starlit night
to bring the dead to earth below
for spirit dances in the snow.
I walk within a rain that pours and flows
upon the petals of this crimson rose;
I seek the sun that breaks through leaden clouds
and turns to certainty the sky's dark doubts.
I feel within the cold and pouring rain
the hurts that make the heavens weep in pain,
the memories of the everlasting years
weighed down by faithless hopes and phantom fears.
Where this storm will end God only knows,
and wind, and rain-soaked petals on this rose.
I was walking in the evening,
the dusky deep and black,
the scent of summer all around me,
rich and fair;
like a cat in living warmth
I felt my heart begin to purr
as I explored the evening
of your hair.
When in June
the flowers bloom,
they laugh out loud for joy.
They bear, in truth,
a fairer youth
than all the knights of Troy.