Timely Poems, Selected by Stephanie Carney

Tutuwas  by Joseph Bruchac

I know the names
on this land
have been changed,
printed on maps
made by those
who claim their ownership.
Some say nothing survives.
But the wind
still sings
the same song
of our breath.
The hilltop trees
still bend like dancers
in ceremonies
that never ended.
And the little pines,
tutuwas, tutuwas,
lift up, protected
from the weight of snow
by the held-out arms
of their elders.

From James Crews- Joseph Bruchac, a tribally enrolled member of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation, is a writer, traditional storyteller, and musician. Author of over 170 books in several genres, his work often reflects his Native heritage. His most recent book of poetry, Four Directions: New and Recollected Poems was published by Mongrel Empire Press in 2015.

Invitation for Writing & Reflection: What elements of the natural world, especially in the dormancy of winter, allow you to embrace the timelessness of this land that once belonged to others? How might you honor the elders who came before you, mapping and naming the land you inhabit?