Children of the Great Lakes


Published in Michigan Quarterly Review – Great Lakes Issue, 2011

Bíonn dúil le béal farraige ach cha bhíonn dúil le béal uaighe.
There is hope from the mouth of the sea but not from the mouth of the grave.
– Ulster proverb


A Poem for the Children of the Great Lakes

Wenesh waa ezhiwebag maampii Chigamigong

Chigaaming shkitoyaanh bagosendamyaanh,
In the sea I can hope
jibaaygamigong anamiyaanh chikeyaanh.
in the grave I pray alone.
Wenesh waa ezhiwebag pii baasadengak kaanan?
What happens when the bones are dried?
Pii niibishensan mitigens bid?
When the little leaves have become sticks?
Pii gokoshag taawagag ziitaaganing?
When the sow’s ears are in salt?
Maamwimaajaan ina Anishinaabemoyaanh miinwaa neseyaanh?
Do they leave together, the language and the last breath?
Enya gonemaa enya
Yes maybe yes
mii wii boonendaamaang
it will be forgotten
mii wii waanendamaadizoyaang
we will forget ourselves
pii chigaming gaawin noondoosiimaang
when we no longer hear the big waters.

Copyright © 2021 by Margaret Noori

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