I knew
no grandfathers
gone, before my creation
Piegan, Blood, Siksika, Tsuu T’ina, Haida, Gitksan, Dene
speak often of their grandfathers
pride and respect
in their words

I imagine theirs
are mine
seeking wisdom
discovering patience
by listening, watching

The grandfathers teach
learn to fly from the hawk
soar high, clear eyed
learn to sing from the meadowlark
sweet, in perfect pitch
learn to speak from the eagle
without enmity, after due consideration
learn to think from the owl
without distractions, considering all
learn to move from the fox
quiet, without disturbing the landscape

Learn to swim from the salmon
nourish many, returning to renew
learn to live from the lodge pole pine
straight, offering shelter to all
learn to laugh from the brook
swift, joining others to be the river
learn to protect from the bear
leave your print sometimes
so all will know who guards
the earth mother

Learn to be wary of man
that which they don’t understand
they destroy

See a horizon
listen to your land

Make your bed
in a hidden place
keep it secret
go there each day
breathe a wind

~ Andy Michaelson

Andy Michaelson “knocked around for a lot of years” and worked in broadcasting prior to launching his writing career in 1999. Along with a group of friends, he published a collection titled Words Like Ashes in 2007. Michaelson is currently working on a book of poetry and paintings about Norse and Aboriginal legends and history with Metis/First Nations painter Aaron Paqette, with help from former Senator Thelma Chalifoux.

2 Responses to “Grandfathers”

  1. […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

  2. I like the lessons of the grandfathers set in the couplets throughout the middle portion of this piece. The ending ties it up nicely, with the thought of living and breathing.

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