Cream City/Doodooshabo’enaande Oodena

They gathered to trade
where the stones were white
between midday and midnight
between the good earth and the great sea.

Foxes, feathers and fireflies to the north
fins, skunks and onions to the south
different echoes whispered
different memories made.

Workers and wanderers stealing days
forging dreams big as melting stars
sometimes fantastic
sometimes familiar.

 


Translated into English from Anishinaabemowin by the poet.

 

Doodooshabo’enaande Oodena

Gii maawanjidiwag ji-odaawewaad
endazhi waabshkaabikong
abitoo-ay’iing naakwek miinwaa aapta dibikad
abitoo-ay’iing minoakiing miinwaa chigaming.

Waagoshag, waawaateseg, miigwanag giwedinong aayaawaad
ginoozheyag, chigagoog, zhigangwishan zhawanong aayaawaad
babikaan bedowe dibaaswewewaad
babikaan miikwendamowaad.

Anokiijig, paandajig gizhigoon gimoodaanaawaan
ningaabikizaanaawaan bawaajigewinan ningaabii’anong
naningodinong maamakatch
naningodinong endaayang.

Gidiskinaadaa Mitigwaakiing/Woodland Liberty

Apii dibikong gaashkendamyaan miinawaa goshkoziyaan
When in the night I am weary and awake wondering
endigwenh waa ezhichigewag bagoji Anishinaabensag odenang,
what the wild young Anishinaabeg of the cities will do,
mitigwaakiing izhaayaan miinawaa anweshinyaan.
into the woods I go and rest.
Nimawadishaag zhingwaakwag miinawaa okikaandagoog
I visit with the white pines and the jack pines.
Nibizindaawaag zhashagiwag miinawaa ajiijaakwag.
I listen to the herons and the cranes.
Nimaatookinaag zaagaa’igan ogaawag miinawaa apakweshkwayag.
I share the lake waters with the walleye and the cattails.
Niwaabaandaanan wesiinhyag-miikanan miinawaa nakwejinaanig
I marvel at the complexity of wild paths and webs woven.
Miidash apii bidaaban niswi giosewag miinawaa
Then when the dawn hides the three hunters
niizhwaaswi nimisenhyag dibiki-giizhigong gaazhad
and seven sisters of the night sky
baabimoseyaan nikeye naawakweg zoongide’eyaan.
I walk bravely toward the noonday.
 

This poem was written in response to "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry.

Ozaagi’aan One Open to an Other

Gizaagi’in apii zaagi’idizoyan
I love you when you love yourself

gaye gaawiin zaagi’idizosiiyan
and when you do not

apii zaagijiba’iweyang
when we escape together

gaye zaagijinizhikawangwaa
and when we chase together

wiindigoog wiindamoonangwaa
the demons who tell us

gaawiin zaagiginzinog ozaagiing
nothing sprouts at the inlet

aanawi gikendamang jiigi-zaaga’igan
when we know at the edge of the lake

gii-zaagida’aawangweyang ingoding
where ashes were poured

zaagaakominagaanzh zaagaagoneg
the bearberry stands in the snow

zaagidikwanaaging ezhi-nisidotamang
branches reaching and tracing

zaagijiwebinamang gaye ishkonamang
what we have tossed and what we have saved

ezhi-naagadawaabandamang
as we examine

gizaagi’in, gizaagi miidash ozaagi’aan.
love.

Babejianjisemigad/Gradual Transformation

Chigaming gii jiisibidoon mikwambikwadinaa
The great sea was pinched by the glaciers

neyaashiiwan, neyaakobiiwanan, neyaakwaa
land reaching, water pointing, trees leaning

biindig zaaga’iganing, agwajiing akiing
inside the lake, outside the land.

Omaa zhawenjigejig zhaweniminangwa
It is here we are loved

epiichi agwaayaashkaa mii dash animaashkaa
by the slow swell of tides

gaye baswewe zisibimaadiziyang.
that echo the rasp of our lives.

Maampii gidanishinaabemotawigoonaanig
This place speaks to us

ginwenzh biboon, nitaawigin niibin
of long winters, summer growth

babejianjisemigad apane.
and slow constant change.