02 March 2020

Hearing the Drums of Change

Chief Howilhkat, Freda Huson, stands in ceremony while police arrive to enforce Coastal GasLink’s injunction at Unist’ot’en Healing Centre near Houston, B.C. on Monday, February 10, 2020.  Source: The Narwhal

Standing in my backyard, I wonder what I’d do if an oil company
pushed a pipeline through it.  I picture the garage demolished, imagine
leaking and reeking of oil far from where it’s needed, and imagine
awaiting pipes of potable water here in my outback, mine, but, no, not
in the way I must pay to claim it. I can’t hear the drums but wait for them.

Standing in my backyard, I wonder how I can sink into this acre
and become indigenous enough to belong to the earth, to hear her
heart drumming, her heart beat right in mine. What comes first, hearing it or knowing it?
I read news of people standing up across Canada against police
trespassing and oil lines claiming pipes’ right of way.  Thousands stand.  I stand here.

I can’t hear the drums but wait for them. No one can see me stand.  No one sees
how I strain to hear, how I see what’s lost unless I write. No one knows this  
is not mine, this land, nor is theirs theirs but it’s all of our loss, polluted,
bit by bit taken from our children whose bloodlines diminish as we sit,
as we move over and stay silent. I must hear the drums speak from my hands.

for earthweal weekly challenge:

My blog poems are rough drafts.
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   © 2020 Susan L. Chast


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh, Susan, your poem speaks to my soul and moves me greatly. THANK YOU for this complete understanding of the truths of this situation, and thank you for listening for Mother Earth's heartbeat. It is hearts and minds like yours that give me hope. Thank you for adding this beautiful poem to the discussion at earthweal. It is WONDERFUL. My new favourite of yours.

Thotpurge said...

This is beautiful Susan... every line is perfect. Thousands stand. I stand here.... we lend our voices and our hearts and our ears in whichever way we can. And still the pipelines keep growing like a cancer.

Carrie Van Horn said...

That last stanza really grabbed my heart Susan! Powerful honesty beautifully crafted!!

Brendan said...

Spot on, Susan. What does come first. And what is this waiting but slowly coming to realize we ARE the drumbeat, of a heart racing wildly in response to smoke, fire, profits mined to flourish less, but also that moment when we grab a drum and start pounding along. Great response to the challenge. I struggled hard with this one, too. - Brendan

Magaly Guerrero said...

I wonder how much of the earth's suffering would be soothed if humanity, as a whole, understood and accepted that although this planet doesn't belong to us, all the "loss" is our making. I can hear the frustration, uncertainty, and sadness in the tone of your speaker, the way her heart spreads the drumming... through ink.

We should all add our voices--and actions--to the last sentence.