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by Zettel 

Posted: 08 August 2012
Word Count: 220
Summary: We meet few truly inspirational people, This is one. If you wish to know more Google Buffy Sainte Marie

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You shall be Earth He said
Rain lover
Corn giver
home to the roots
of trees and men
Yes you shall be Earth

I love the Earth she said
My mother
My brother
Who sustains me
My place, my home
But I shall not be Earth

You shall be Wind He said
Sail driver
Storm giver
Who carries Earthís song
To touch our hearts
Yes you shall be Wind

I love the Wind she said
North and South
East and West
She clears my head
And stirs my soul
But I shall not be Wind

You shall be Water He said
Life giver
Thirst quencher
Lakes and rivers
Brooks and streams
Yes you shall be Water

I love the Water she said
Her cooling touch
Her cleansing taste
She purifies my soul
And gives me life
But I shall not be Water

What then shall you be He said
Not Earth, nor Wind
Nor Water too
Shall you be Sun
Giver of Light
Shall this be you

I love the Sun she said
Giver of life
Giver of heat
That is not my place
For You are Light
Invisible but seen

I shall be Fire she said
Change maker
Passionís undying flame
But not for power
Or for Fame
For Truth, for honour
That all be loved the same

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Comments by other Members

Matti WS at 15:33 on 08 August 2012  Report this post
I saw her last night at the Southbank! She is a hero of mine, I love her, her music, her rage and her message, and this poem captures her spirit beautifully.

I like the lyrical, mythological repetition of this, and the calling of the elements - so true to her and her spirit. She is fire - you're absolutely right.

I shall be Fire she said
Change maker
Passionís undying flame
But not for power
Or for Fame
For Truth, for honour
That all be loved the same

Perfect. The last line is a universal message.

Zettel at 10:06 on 10 August 2012  Report this post
Saw the same concert Sophie. Her talk the night before was also extraordinary - a touch under 2 hours - philosophy, art, culture, history, politics, music - funny, ironic, angry, insightful. One of the most impressive women of her generation and hardly known simply because she is Native American - the real people rendered invisible by white mens' myths.

Glad you like the poem.


James Graham at 11:12 on 11 August 2012  Report this post
This is an impressive tribute to Buffy. The impact of the ritualistic commands and refusals builds up to a very fine ending. Iíve no criticism of this poem - itís one of your best.

Buffy Sainte Marie was only a name to me - until now. Iíve never heard her, but after reading your poem googled some of her song lyrics. Thereís a whole lot that stands out, but for some reason these lines thrilled me:

Hey donít the wars come easy
Hey donít the peace come hard

It's something that can be said intellectually by historians and political philosophers, and in nuanced, even cryptic, ways by some poets. But this is direct and stunning, as valid a way of saying it as any.

Inspired by all this Iíve ordered a Buffy CD from Amazon, and look forward to receiving it. Auden was wrong when he wrote ĎPoetry makes nothing happení!


Zettel at 13:13 on 11 August 2012  Report this post
Thanks for the comments James. Delighted that you are going to listen to some of her music. Don't know what's on the CD you've ordered but of over 150 songs she's written, lyrically I think Little Wheel Spin and Spin is stunning. And 'My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying' is the most poignant, passionate songs I've ever heard.

In her talk she made the point that there are War Studies departments in Universities around the world but we still await a University Peace Studies department.

You might also be interested in a book she recommended I'm going to check out by John Horgan Called The End of War.



Dave Morehouse at 13:37 on 11 August 2012  Report this post
You have wonderfully captured the spirit of Native Peoples here in this poem. I have followed her music since the 60's and she has written tunes that has been covered by some of our greatest pop and country artists. She is prolific without being a sellout. I especially like the way you incorporate the Elements in a Call and Response format. Yes, Fire, is the only element for Buffy. Exceptional work, Dave.

V`yonne at 18:35 on 11 August 2012  Report this post
Passionís undying flame
But not for power
Or for Fame
For Truth, for honour

You just couldn't say that better or pay a more fitting tribute to a great artist.

Zettel at 00:21 on 12 August 2012  Report this post
Thanks Dave and V'yonne - its good to feel one's done justice to a very special person.


James Graham at 14:01 on 20 August 2012  Report this post
Many thanks for introducing me to Buffy. Up to now I have been a dinosaur, knowing nothing of this kind of music after Joan Baez. Now I'm listening to Buffy, and also Gil Scott Heron, whom I like. Those two songs you mention are on the CD I have, and they're both superb - the songs themselves, and Buffy's performance.


Zettel at 17:53 on 20 August 2012  Report this post
My pleasure James. Glad you like.



Midnight_Sun at 15:50 on 28 August 2012  Report this post
Hi Z,

sorry for the late reply on this one but I've only gotten round to purchasing Best of the Vanguard Years. Ashamedly I had never heard of Buffy before but then again I wasn't around until the late 70's

I've just had time to listen to the CD once and read up a wee bit on Buffy. Still don't know an awful lot about her yet but wanted to voice my appreciation. I enjoyed reading your poem and from what I know so far I think it does Buffy justice.

You've now got me interested in Native American/Canadian history again, a subject I dabbled in briefly as a teenager and now I have another artist to add to my music catalogue.

So thanks for that, and for sharing your work.


Zettel at 23:35 on 14 September 2012  Report this post
Thanks Patricia. Missed your post.

So glad you like the poem and are moved to look into the history. That can be a two-edged sword as it can make one very angry - indeed ashamed of what Europeans and European Culture did to the First Nation peoples.



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