Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kancamagus, the Sachem, not the Highway

The last poem of my Pennacook Trilogy concerns the last sachem, Kancamagus, nephew of Wonalancet, grandson of Passaconaway, leader of a raid in what’s now Dover, NH called the Cocheco Massacre. I’m sure K. would have called it something different.
The Dying Chant of Kancamagus

The river Merrimack has many names
but you have christened it with just the one,
although past Pennacook its serpentine
expanse becomes that rapid herring run
called Amoskeag, then glides with egret grace
towards Wamesit, the lap of open space

where all the tribes in Merrimack's extent
assembled in the summer while they fished
for salmon in Pawtucket's waterfalls.
Long here exiled in Canada I've wished
my Grandfather had stirred our blood as one
with Metacomet, beating oblivion

upon your line before you rubbed out ours.
That shaman though, discerning well
your snakelike charms, tried conjuring instead.
But magic failed to send you straight to hell
like I did Trader Rich that blood-filled night,
his standing-in as one for all that's white.

~Greg Perry 2003-2005
Curtis asks if I had read a particular poem by Mike Stocks. I tried to comment but his comment system kept on crashing. But yes I had read that poem, Curtis. I find it touching and extremely well-crafted. But prophetic? Not so much. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The above poem isn’t that much either.

But enough of prophecy, but for this: we will be Outer Banks bound on Friday. So stay tuned for photo-mo-blogging from the road, OBX, and Hatteras Island.


Curtis Gale Weeks said...

Greg, I don't think the Stocks poem is prophetic so much as --visionary, by virtue of a perspective that isn't locked on the past, isn't locked on the future, but extends forward and backward at the same time. It transcends time or disregards the particulars of time. His poem doesn't interpret but merely reports the vision; or maybe it contains an implicit interpretation while allowing us to connect the dots.

My main thought in making my post was this: that the struggle doesn't need to be seen as being exclusively between ineffective prophets and ineffective interpreters; there is a third class: the seers.

Or some such.

[BTW, this is the first I've known about problems with the comment system at my site--besides spam problems. I've recently installed some spam filters and made some other changes to fight the waves of spam I've been getting. I will look into the problem, see what I find. Thanks for the heads-up.]

Alan Sullivan said...

Have a good trip, Greg. No hurricanes in sight for North Carolina...yet.