Red Willow Dreams

There is an ancient place
in New Mexico
where the native people
live in reddish-brown stacked pueblos.
A native girl
dressed in ordinary clothes
led our tour.  It was raining
and my fingers nearly froze.

She took us to Red Willow Creek
where she gathered water
in a bucket, as a child,
living with her grandmother.
We ducked through an earthen doorway
and found a wise woman, wrinkled
and silent, sitting by a fire made

from sticks gathered
in the sacred hills.
We stood by the church
ruins; rubble, rock
and wooden crosses
stacked high — for the women who fled
from the army; to the sanctuary (with their children);
Who were slaughtered, she said.

The true tales
of the Old West
are found in the upturned faces
of the women, singing sculptured sadness
from within their mica flecked
pottery robes.  They sing their story
to their children, and the small statue I bought –
she sings to me.

Our history is not glory
but sadness,
and also truimph.
The red willow village remains
and the people live today
beneath their sacred Blue Lake.
I bought dream Catchers there;
the real deal, not like those fake

ones you see, hanging on a rear-view mirror,
picked up at the Five and Dime.
Ours hang in our bedrooms, crafted
by the Taos, woven of ecru twine,
a rawhide handle,
beads of robin egg blue, purple and red;
and a spider web net
to catch bad dream thoughts full of dread.

Prompts: Poets United (content: Dream Catcher) and Poetic Bloomings (form: L’Arora).  The header picture for this blog is a picture my daughter took of her dream catcher.

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10 thoughts on “Red Willow Dreams

  1. The photo of your authentic dreamcatcher is stunning. I love your poem, which so well captures the history of pain of a people, and sees the sadness on their faces. Yet how they love to laugh! Such a beautiful people.

  2. I enjoyed hearing about Red Willow Creek in New Mexico. Everything is hear–color, weather, water bucket, grandmother and child, the church and finally the dream catcher. I was startled for a minute at ” They sing their story / to their children, and the one I bought – / she sings to me.” Without hearing about the dream catcher first, it seems like you bought a child–but I know that you did not. Check it out. Overall, there is a satisfying feeling of completion here, a nugget of learning and giving back that I truly enjoy.

    • Thanks for pointing out the confusion in how I ordered my words. I’m going to go back and play with it. I actually bought a pottery sculpture of a woman singing and that is what I was referring too. Hmm, no, I’m not interested in more children. I’m fine with the ones I have. 🙂

  3. This story is so compelling and strong-the photo is fantastic, too. I felt like I was there with you at red willow–loved this line “singing sculptured sadness” beautiful!

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