Seek Not Our Land
How can you buy or sell
The sky or warmth of the land?
Can you steal the sound of a shell?
Or plunder the sea of its sand?
What is free, who are we to bequeath?
Air shares spirit – supports all life
Wind that gives us our first breath
Doth also receive our last sigh.
Good earth for us is our mother
Perfumed flowers, our dear sisters
Eagle, horse, deer are brothers dear
Humming insects are our visitors.
With reverence we hold all of this wealth
Flowing rivers carry ancestors’ blood
Of red man’s memories there’s no dearth
All mankind one – united in blood.
Our God is the same God – we discover;
Equal in compassion for red and white
Hope not, White Chief, to conquer and pilfer
Oh grief, why rob us of our Life ?
Holy land is rich with lives of our kin
Mother Earth whatever befalls it
Befalls the mindless sons too akin
Seeds are we: how can one sell it?
Remember our soil is too sacred
Must teach your people, your children
Clear waters and even the lake bed
Recall events, memories, true vision.
Earth belongs not to any man
Man belongs to this earth
Plunder it the way you can
Earneth a sure way to dusty death.
Destiny a deep mystery to us
Gone are the thicket and eagle: awful toll
God brought us for a special purpose
End of living – beginning o’ survival?
( This poem is a humble tribute, inspired by the memory of Chief Seattle, Si’ahl, of the Duwamish Tribe, who in 1854 was slated to have made a powerful, bitter sweet plea for respect of Native American rights and environmental values to President Franklin Pierce in response to a Government offer to purchase the remaining Salish lands, what is now contemporary Seattle. The beautiful spirit of the natives, and their deep attachment to nature is evocative of the trauma faced by them even as white settlements were fast replacing them from their beloved lands. The plea is reminiscent of the wrath and turmoil being faced by native inhabitants in many parts of the country where modern industry wishes to expand through land acquisition)
(MC Escher, the renowned Dutch artist, has left an enduring body of work of mathematically inspired improbable possibilities. The photo above is a picture of his work “Three Worlds’ , done in 1955, which allegorically refers to three distinct perspectives; the world indeed looks different from where each of us sees it. )