Monday, February 2, 2015

Silent poetry reading for the Feast of Saint Brigid, 2015

Dear friends,

As I have noted in past years, Feb. 2nd is the Feast of Saint Brigid, goddess of the forge, patron saint of midwives, and lover of poetry. I am participating in the "Silent Poetry Reading" in her honor by posting a poem on my blog.

For this year, I've chosen a poem by Margaret Noodin, reprinted here with her permission. (Thanks, Meg!) You'll notice that the poem is in Ojibwe and English; Meg writes in both. She does amazing and inspiring work on the study, preservation, and revival of Ojibwe language and culture. Check out the videos and sound recordings at for beautiful and fun stories.

Even though it's icy cold today, and winter feels endless, pretty soon it will be time to tap the maple trees (at least here in Ohio) and harvest spring's sweetness.

"Dibiki-Ziigwaagaame (Night Syrup)"

Ziigwaagame n'daagwaagominaan
I stir syrup into

Makademashkikiabo miinwaa
coffee                          and

kwejimdizo, "Wenesh e-naagamig
I ask myself      "What

does night syrup taste like?"

Gete-misaabe-zekwekik ina?
The ancient iron kettle?
Giiwedinong giizhik ina?
Northern cedar?
Zagaswans ina?
A bit of smoke?
Enangwiiganing aandeg ina?
The wing of a crow?
Moozo akiianzo shkijigan ina?
The brown eye of a moose?
Shki miikans-maamad tigwaking ina?
A new path in the woods?
Ode noondan abita-dibikong ina?
Hearing a heart beat at midnight?

Miidash nsostooyaanh
And then I understand

sweet    dark syrup

bimaadiziwin e-naagamig.
tastes like life.

I hope you enjoy more poetry today, and the returning of the light.


P.S. This poem can be found in the excellent collection Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, ed. Allison Adelle Hedge Coke (U of Arizona Press, 2011), which is available at Birchbark Books.