An Anthem

I will thunder the drum of stampeding buffalo. I will cry with the crashing
scorched bones in the sun

I will ride the train whistle over ripe prairie grain fields, over land yet untouched by the hand on the plow
I will raise my glass to monuments of loneliness of sacrifice of hopes
to broken promises of barren rainclouds

I will fade in the distance a wisp of a whisper then ricochet back
through dark mountain passes
I will tell of the people who rode that train whistle with visions and with plans
and with fear in their bellies
of voices that blended but kept their own cadence
I will honor the people who drove the steel forward their gift to a country
yet unshaped or one

I will smell in the burning of flesh during branding
I will hear in the gush of oil released
the secrets of cowhands
the secrets of roughnecks, couched
in words of their trade
a language their own

I will honor the women who fought to be persons

I will gasp the first breath of next generations
I will sway to the music of songs
yet unsung
I will wail on the wind of times left behind. I will write on the stones
of times still to come
dip my paddle in founts of swift flowing rivers
Baptize in the name of snow rain and sun

the people
the land

~ Marion Brooker

Marion Brooker wrote for youth for many years through Educational Radio. In her recent book for young readers, Noreen and The Amazing No-Good Horse, Marion enjoyed reliving experiences of her childhood growing up on a farm in southern Manitoba. At present she is working on a creative non-fiction book based on letters home from her 17 year old uncle who was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Marion lives in Edmonton with her husband, happily surrounded by family, grandchildren and their pets.

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