U’MISTA: Rise Again

 © David Watts

finished 21 June 2008

Smoke has risen above our big houses unbroken through time.

Masks have been worn and dances performed again and again

We are not like the firefly’s flash but like the eternal waters

surrounding our land.

Canoes have always carried our people and traditions

back and forth.

Our elders carry our hearts and our souls from the long remembered past Into a widening future where our children await:

(Rise Again, rise again, that our name not be lost from the sea and the land All those who know us best, and are with us to the end

Will make the people from the ocean Rise Again.)

Note: The lines preceding the “Rise Again” coda are taken from the Big House at Alert Bay on Cormorant Island in Johnston Strait BC, somewhat altered for metrical flow. The coda, a paraphrase of the chorus of Stan Rogers The Mary Ellen Carter is meant to be sung to that original tune contrapuntally with a chorus of “Ha-yah!” sung gutturally to simulate an aboriginal idiom.