Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Totem Poles

These are pictures of Haida Coastal Native Totem Poles taken in British Columbia, Western Canada.

I took the one on the right before the days of my digital camera so in fact, it is a picture of that picture! Because it was central to the reason I wrote the poem I wanted to share with you, I included it here.

The one on the left is a much better picture of what these totem poles really look like, all painted in bright primary colours.

Totem poles captivated me and it was easy for me to wonder about their stories and what they really represented. And as usual, the picture, once hanging on my wall, was just begging me to write a poem!


Haida cedar tradition.

Carved, painted,


Proud and noble,

Head upon head,

Raven, Salmon, Thunderbird.

Totem pole erected, stark against the horizon.

Silent silhouette serenely looks out

Upon the sparkling waters of the Pacific,

Thick and sturdy,

Inner strength and vision of a chief,

Eyes fixed straight ahead

While ferries float to and fro beneath your stare.

Tourists stop, gaze up in awe, and take in the history,

Paying homage for one still moment

To the native feet who first walked this land,

Revered it, respected it, and honoured it,

Taking from it just enough - no more -

The spell is broken

And carefree, vacationing kids aim stones at the raven's eyes.

But you rise above them,

Look through them, past them,

Standing even taller now,

Stately, dignified presence,

At peace with the universe

And with the knowledge of who you are.

Mother of Invention, still in awe.


Blogger Barbara said...

I have always been fascinated by Indian lore. I got a much better understanding of it from "Fools Crow" by James Welch. I would love to experience that mentality that is so caught up in the symbols of nature. Reya comes closest to this of any white person I know.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbara: Yes, me too! Our busy urban life and its rapid pace gets in the way of their nature philosophies I guess. You're right, Reya does seem very much like that, as does my first massage therapist who was Mother Nature herself. She was a herbologist, acupuncturist, and did naturopathics and homeopathics too.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Barbara: Doesn't my machine recognize me anymore?!! Ruth!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogger steve said...

What a cool monument a Totem Pole is. I love what you say; "above them, past them through them". It spaeaks to me of how rude all these impermanent things truly are.
Nicely done!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Steve: Thanks for your visit and comment! I'm glad something I wrote spoke to you. I hated how those kids treated this beautiful monument.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogger Old Lady said...

Travelling across the US I was priveledged to see many totem poles. They are amazing. So is your poem!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Old Lady: They are all different aren't they? I love the idea of totems. I did this poem for Gr. 7's and we made our own totem pole designs afterwards. I did one too to show them. Was neat to see what they chose for their own identities. Thanks!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogger brooksba said...

Totem poles are so unique and tell amazing stories. The work behind their creation, the meanings behind each segment, it's all beautiful. I liked looking at these pictures and reading your poem about them. Made me sit back and remember the first time I saw a totem pole or heard about one. Nice.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Blogger Maggie said...

I love the way your poem is even shaped like a totem pole and how the words and flow give the inner calm feeling of looking up at and honoring one. Totems always seem to quiet my soul. I suspect its the ancientness and symbolism they hold. Beautiful.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Brooksba: Thanks! The work involved must be amazing, perhaps a skill passed down from generations long gone. I do think they carve some of their own spirit into these storytellers and that you need to honour that.

Maggie: Wow! You're the only person who noticed that it was shaped like a totem pole! It happened quite by accident...the magic of the Muse, I guess. I just decided to use the centre button on impulse and then was amazed as it lined up the words in that shape right before my eyes! From then on, I usually use the centre just looks neat and does help with the flow you commented on and allows you to put in the breaks at the end of lines or ideas more effectively. It's great for stream-of-consciousness writing too. It just spills out in form. Thanks!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Anonymous colleen said...

Majestic words to match the image!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Colleen: Thanks> I wasn't so sure any words could do it justice but had to try.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blogger Lynn said...

Oh Mother they are great pics!

Have you ever taken a trip to Hull to the Museum of Civilization (formerly the museum of man)?
My friend is the head curator there. About 10 years ago she was able to revamp the Native Exhibit. The majority of the the museum is now dedicated to the Native Study department.
They have great totems there, and a huge collection of canoes. Not quite as many as the Peterborough canoe museum, but a great exhibit none the less.
If you have not been to the Musee Du Civilization you must plan a trip to go.(it is right across the river from the Ottawa Parliament buildings)

All of the poems this week are lovely.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Thanks, Lynn. No I haven't been but wouldn't mind that trip, as well as the canoe museum. We used to take our classes to St. Marie Among The Hurons and it was such a neat place.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

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