John Search The Enemy

It was a hot day in August 1931 when a Sioux Indian Chief (John Search The Enemy) invited me to sit with him on a blanket in front of his tipi at the Custer County Nebraska Fair.

Of course, I was only three years old so I didn’t know his name. However, a few years ago in 2009, I got curious and inquired of the fair officials by email as to what chiefs were present at the fair that year. At first they replied that they didn’t have such information…it was too many years ago. About half a day later, another email arrived, this one from the fair manager. He said he was curious so he checked some old records and had found a daily paper, The Daily Fair Edition for August 18, 1931, which contained a list of all the Sioux in attendance at the fair and he had mailed me a copy of that page. What a wonderful gift!

There were two chiefs present, Iron Shell and John Search The Enemy. From their descriptions in the article, I knew that the one who spoke to me was the latter one because he was slightly younger than the other.

The chief must have entertained me for close to an hour, telling me stories of The People and how they came to be as well as tales of The Coyote, a joker who could lead a person astray! He told me I would remember him and I certainly do! As I left he reached into his pocket and pulled out a buffalo nickle which he gave to me. The coin has  an image of a buffalo on one side and the head of a chief on the reverse.

Somewhere around here I must still have that nickle given to me nearly 85 years ago by John Search The Enemy, a Sioux Indian Chief.

Poem Hunter

You know, it’s sometimes tough being a poet. There are times when writer’s block hits the poet and the bucket full of titles just dries up like spit on the sand. It’s then that the poet gets down and dirty in hunting for a poem, accepting even the ridiculous as brilliant and sublime!

He had been on the trail for weeks,
hunting there, on his own,
but the target was elusive
’cause he did hunt alone.

It would have been much easier
had a friend come along,
at least company on the ride,
a ride so very long.

The target was so ill defined
just one line would not do;
it would take a full paragraph
to describe it for you.

But that long ride was tiring.
Vowing, when he got home
he’d give up the poetic search
and never more would roam.

But then he saw it at long last
his target, very terse.
It was a simple one he saw,
a poem with one verse.

Oh, yes, there was big game out there
but this one verse would do.
Better have just one stanza now
than wait around for two.