by Marsha Reeves
Marsha Reeves, one of our beloved Swamp Singers, was inspired by chickadees on a winter walk where she is now living in northern Michigan. Their continued presence called for a song and then a poem as they keep us company through the coldest season. Special thanks to Margaret Noodin and Mike Zimmerman for their translation assistance.
Ninendaan gaawiin waa-babaamendanzimowaad
I think they will not mind that
I arrive late.
Gijiigijigaaneshiiyag gii-giimoodaanagidoowag noopiming
The chickadees were mumbling in the bushes
by the box where I get mail.
They needed an Honor Song
so I sang to them
because we understand them again
ezhi-manaadenimangwaa ingiw wiidokawiyangidwaa
the way we respect those who keep us company
Gaawiin da-giizhokoniyesiiwag misawa
They do not need to dress warm and yet
they warm our hearts.