dispersing & reflecting light through poetry

Posts tagged ‘Cherokee symbolism’

RED–A Parallel Universe

In a parallel universe this book is titled GREEN. Actually, it probably isn’t. But there are parallel worlds. There is the world in which we live–solid, sensual; to our eyes, real. The others are ethereal, spirtual–yet, just as real. These worlds are seen with the eyes of faith. They are the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness.

RED is arranged in a parallel order. Here is the current list of titles:

The Diet
Cheap Valentine
Window Shopping in Rosse Buurt
Red Ink Blues
Mars Rising
Capsaicin–The Topical Cure
Seeds of Faith
Blood Shed
Red Sky in Morning
Feast of Martyrs
Luna de Sangre
Words of Christ
Solomon, St. Valentine, and the Coming of Christ
Ghazal: Of My Love
A Study in Scarlet
Red: Revelation

 I was inspired to use this format for these poems while studying Hebrew and New Testament poetry, which use parallelism as a common form. I have arranged the poems, each different in style or form or voice, in a parallel order.

The first and last are introductory and summary. The first seven after the title poem attempt to show the universe we reside in under the influence of the kingdom of darkness or by our own efforts. The seven poems preceding the summary poem show more of the kingdom of heaven viewpoint. The poem to poem parallels are not perfect–I’m not that good–but, I think you’ll get the idea.

For example, “Native” and “Adam”, written in a similar style with different voices, are parallel to one another; “The Diet” and “A Study in Scarlet”, and so forth. I’ll look at the parallels of the first set in the next blog.

The three central poems will focus on Christ, some aspect of the color themes that are found in HIm.

I plan to use this same format throughout this series of chapbooks. (Series? Nobody said anything about a series. You mean there’s more to come after RED?)

Today, I give you “Native”, written using red rich Cherokee symbolism to describe the fall of Adam.


Our skin
is not gi-ga-ge,
as yours
is not white or black or yellow.
are the colors of the earth–
the sand, the soil, the clay.
Our flesh dyed
by the fruit of the sumac,
by the root of the sanguinaria:
these roots bleed when wounded
and the Sky hears.
We were removed
from the fertile land of the East;
driven to evacuate toward the sunset,
return prevented by sacred fire.
Each cycle of the sun chasing the moon
we look back to the East.
Many moons pass.
Many times of spring pass:
we suffer the thunderings of war,
bear wounds that will not heal,
and walk the path that ends,
when skin and flesh and sinew
become one with soil,
and bone becomes dust
returned to its native earth.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

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