You said, “Stand in your own truth,”
and now that’s where you’re standing:
on your own patch of truth.
Truth is firm enough to support
a straight tall tree. Straight
as a tamarack on a cold
north hill. True as those needles
a gold blaze splashing
from horizon to horizon
in late September.
kwayaskokâpawi tâpiskôc ana wâkinâkan
Truth secures unsheltered tamaracks
flagging eastward from a mean
for the possibilities of dawn
on a frigid winter night. Truth
harbours hope, a fugitive in frost
on rough bark, as steady ground
embraces heavy snow — a haven for shed needles.
wîci-kâpawîstâtok anohc tâpiskôc aniki wâkinâkanak
Fatigued but fearless in ferocious
determination to defy deceit,
you stand sustained by truth,
even when corruption in a suit
and tie, or cowardice decked out
in denims and sneakers, hides
poised to strike.
sôhkikâpawi êkospîhk nimiyo-tôtêm
Sometimes truth is a patch of land
big enough for only one to stand;
other times it might offer space
enough to pitch your tent.
pêyakokâpawi kîspin êkosi ispayiki, mâka wîci-kâpawîstawik mîna kotakak.
Truth, unyielding terrain, underlies the first
declarations of spring:
new growth of the crocus
emerging tender and rubbery
as a baby’s first cry.
ômisi isikâpawi tâpiskôc kâ-isi-sâkâkonêkâpawit apiscâpakwanîs.
A trail worn confidently
by courage, truth tracks sure as the first
spring raindrops refracting green
aroma after a monotone winter.
Rain that sharpens the earthy
tang of moist soil. Rain
that colours the pungent green
for those tuned into the truth
of a walk in the boreal forest.
kinokâpawi ayisk kisôhkisin.
Black clean dirt under red
osier dogwood, truth is kinikinik.
Tobacco offered to an elder.
“Stand in your own truth,” you said.
And it seems to me that truth
lies solid beneath the sharp
clear call of sandhill cranes
needling northward, audible
only to those who listen
with an ear bent toward certainty.
natohta tâpwêwin, nitôtêm.
Truth bears ripe raspberries
red off the bush, or the near-black
purple of chokecherries in late July.
A small patch of earth, the sweet
anticipation of saskatoon pie,
promises emerging from truth.
kiyâmikâpawi êkwa cîhkîsta ôhi asotamâkêwina.
Truth is the sixth sense
of survival, primeval, prickly perhaps
but perfect, pure as the knowledge
that comes before uncertainty.
sôhkikâpawi nimiyo-tôtêm, Ellen.
cîpacikâpawi anita kitâpwêwinihk.