'Osborne Caribou" by Toby Wright‘Riven’ and Other Poetry in Traditional Bardic Forms by Elizabeth Spencer Spragins The Society February 22, 2017 Beauty, Culture, Poetry, The Environment 2 Comments Riven (A Rannaigheacht Ghairid) Once I dreamed Ospreys soared where salmon teemed. Frigid streams and waterfalls Frosted walls where glaciers gleamed. Darkness cowled The moon whenever wolves howled Until hunters fired a torch That scorched the realms where night prowled. Sunlight slew Calves* of glaciers tinted blue, Snowy owls, and arctic birds. Hungry herds of caribou Wandered far, But the fervid morning star Supped on ice that could not sate: Gate of hell was left ajar. Eagles screamed As the broken ice unseamed. Now the white of desert sands Blankets lands where once I dreamed. *Chunks of ice break off the end of a glacier and produce icebergs in a process known as “calving.” As Long as Eagle Flies* (A Rannaigheacht Ghairid) This they swore— Strangers eager to explore Traversed our hills undaunted, Wanted passage, nothing more. They found gold— Riches made prospectors bold. On the Black Hills, ours by right, White man’s treaties did not hold. To end war, In exchange for golden ore They drove us to Standing Rock, Fenced like flock forevermore. Gold-plate lies: Words on paper recognize Borders where the rivers roam, Home as long as eagle flies. Army Corps Threatens homeland as before.** We draw bows with words to fight, Cite the treaty they ignore. Eagles soar— Though they claim the treaty tore, On Black Hills of Dakota To Lakota, this they swore. *The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 recognized the sovereignty of the Lakota Sioux over the Great Plains “as long as the river flows and the eagle flies.” The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 prohibited white settlement in the Black Hills for all time, but the subsequent discovery of gold generated an influx of miners who violated the treaty with impunity. **Proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline have asked the Army Corps of Engineers to approve construction of an oil pipeline under the Missouri River less than one mile upstream of the Standing Rock Reservation. The Lakota have protested on the grounds that the project will contaminate their sole source of drinking water and disrupt their sacred lands. Elizabeth Spencer Spragins is a linguist, writer, poet, and editor who taught in North Carolina community colleges for more than a decade. She writes in traditional poetic forms that focus on the beauty of landscapes and their inhabitants. Her bardic verse in the Celtic style has been published by The Lyric, The Quarterday Review, and The Society of Classical Poets Journal. Her tanka and short verse have appeared in Bamboo Hut, Skylark, Peacock Journal, Atlas Poetica, and the anthology Neon Graffiti. An avid swimmer and an enthusiastic fiber artist, she lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Related Post ‘When I Speak of History’ by Leonard Dabydeen When I speak of history I speak well; I leave behind the past where broken bones Lay scattered on blistering sands to tell Of atrocities that are m... Tell the world:FacebookTwitterTumblrPinterestRedditLinkedInEmail 2 Responses Carole Mertz February 22, 2017 I love your material and beautiful rhymings. This especially having just re-read Silent Spring and having reviewed the poetry collection Whereas, of Layli Long Soldier, an Oglala Lakotan. Reading your poems put into place so many things I’ve wanted to, but haven’t been able to express. Reply Lorna Davis February 22, 2017 These are beautiful and powerful. I love the imagery in Riven, and the strong emotion in As Long as Eagle Flies. This Celtic form seems to have a solemnity to it, very fitting for the subjects. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.