Saturday, November 01, 2008

Justin Bearclaw

Justin so enjoyed the poem I wrote him a couple years ago (he is easily pleased!), I promised him I'd do it again this year, especially since I was out of town this whole week and missed his birthday! We had a little party for him today, at which time I presented him with this new gift. He's been studying American Indians in school, so the setting seemed to fit. Enjoy!

The Indians’ food was running low.
For weeks, no deer or buffalo
Had left a track upon a land
Oppressed by winter’s icy hand.
The chief called all his warriors near,
Each armed with bow, flint knife, and spear.
He greeted them with hardened eyes
And said, “Our people’s hope now lies
With you. Be cunning, swift and strong.
You must not fail. We won’t last long.”

So just before the light of day
A dozen warriors slipped away—
Some through the woods or the long grass
In search of trails where game might pass.
But one young brave, the chief’s son, took
A path along a frozen brook
And through a canyon deep with snow
Until he found a cave below
A cliff. He climbed a nearby oak,
And wrapped tight in his fur-lined cloak.
He waited, silent, on a limb,
Alert to all surrounding him.

The noonday sun had warmed the ground
When down below he heard a sound.
He clutched his knife; he raised his spear,
And crouched as a great bear drew near.
The black bear stopped—a foreign smell…
But just then with a mighty yell
The warrior hurled his spear and leapt
Onto the creature’s back. He kept
Free of its slashing claws and teeth
And plunged his knife in just beneath
Its arm and deep into its chest.
The tribe was saved! They ate the best
Meal that night that they’d had in weeks
With songs and smiles and bulging cheeks.

Now in that land of Indian lore
They sing about a chief who wore
A necklace made from black bear paw—
The chief they call Justin Bearclaw!