Canadian

Lnu and Indians We're Called

This collection of poetry by Rita Joe expands upon her desire to communicate gently with her own people and reach out to the wider community of Canadians.

Rita Joe

With this collection, celebrated poet Rita Joe expands upon her desire to communicate gently with her own people and reach out to the wider community of Canadians. On the eve of the 500th Anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas, Rita Joe once again extends her hand to us in friendship and reminds us of the Indigenous culture that was here long before the Europeans. These new poems compel us to listen. (From Women's Press)

From the book

At age seven

I go to school

The teacher is talking

I do not understand much of what he says

So my stubby pencil makes contact

With a scrap of paper

I print small words,

The ones I know,

I try to put them in order.

 

"Bring that paper here," the teacher yells.

Timidly I walk, my knees trembling

I hand him the paper.

His eyes widen, "Where did you find these?"

I point at myself, my head, my heart,

The fear lessening.

He reads my first poem,

A jumble of words

Kes-km-si' na

 

I've caught up with myself,

That is why I am here

Poetry is my tool,

I create as I go

Kes-km-si' na, I tell you now.

Maybe tomorrow I will leave you,

Remember my stubby pencil,

And you too may "do."

Na kes-km-sit-isk naki'l elt.

You too will be ahead of yourself.


From Lnu and Indians We're Called by Rita Joe ©1991. Published by Women's Press.