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.
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.