Whew. Okay. I had a rough day yesterday just DEALING with all things COVID, and I just decided to deal with it by being overly busy in things that I didn’t necessarily have to finish but wanted to. So I’m jamming two days into one here!

These are both by Chief Dan George. I think he was my first introduction to Native poetry. My dad is a fan of his, and I somehow came to own a copy as a kid (just took it from my dad maybe?) of a book of Chief Dan George poems – the one featured above. There were several poems that I still think about more often than you think, decades later.

This first one is one of those. It’s how I feel when I’m in Southeast Alaska, or along Turnagain Arm.

My Heart Soars

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,
the dew drop on the flower,
speaks to me.

The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
And the life that never goes away,
They speak to me.
And my heart soars

The second one, I’m not even 100% sure it’s an intended poem, and in full. When I first read Chief Dan George, it was in a book, and I can’t find that book! Online this seems to be shared as a “quote.” But that last line has stuck with me for over twenty years, so here’s what I found in full.

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.



Honestly, this whole re-reading has made me purchase some Chief Dan George books. I find him much like a wise Elder I’m coming back to after too long away.