Conversation With A Chief
Many years ago, back in 1931 when I was three, I met a Sioux Indian Chief at the Custer County Nebraska Fair. He talked to me and told me stories of Coyote and The People. He did influence my life and my interest in stories; whether in prose or poetry. So I began to wonder what he might say to me today…if such a thing were possible. He has the last word…
You know, you’re the reason I write…
you’re the one who inspired me.
My verses would have never lived
if you hadn’t set my mind free.
So I do thank you for your help
If I helped, I didn’t mean to
Ok, but you did help me out
I thought it was something you knew
You inspired me to write poems
Maybe I’ll be sorry some day
How could you ever be sorry?
Maybe you don’t write stuff my way
But you’ve not even read my stuff?
I just like to avoid conflict
You mean you don’t like my poems?
I don’t like the subjects you picked
But you don’t know just what I picked
You’re white so I know very well
You’re just tryin’ to confuse me
You write about heaven and hell
Not true, I write of life itself
You may breathe but that is not life
Your logic is so confusing
Living is overcoming strife
Can we talk about poetry?
We are, verses are life itself
The poet needs to speak for man
The poet speaks just for himself
But I know what other men think
If you know that, why do you ask?
Well, I just wanted to thank you
You’re welcome, get back to your task
What other advice do you have ?
Stop trying to think like I do
I can’t think like an Indian does
That’s my point, you’re not me, you’re you
Write what you yourself truly know
and don’t try to speak for all men.
Remember, you’re not an Indian,
you are just one man with a pen!