Monday, January 12, 2015

Totem Poles

Several years ago, Barbara and I went to Alaska.  While there we saw several sites where totem poles were displayed.  It is an ancient way of recording the family history of mostly Northwestern Native Americans.  I found the explanations interesting, but most of their interpretive data came from folks generations removed from the original artisans.  I wrote the following poem to convey my impressions.

Stake Your Totem

Chop the tree.
Carve the wood.
Tell the story of your clan.

Stake your totem
on the seashore
hoping all the world will see.

Who will be left
when others pass
to pass the epic on?

Unlock the past
without a key?

Learned men
will cogitate,
extrapolate, and pontificate.
But, in the end they speculate.

Dennis Price


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