I Think They Will Not Mind

I Think They Will Not Mind

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
 
wiikaa bi-dagoshinaan.
I arrive late.
 
Gijiigijigaaneshiiyag gii-giimoodaanagidoowag noopiming
The chickadees were mumbling in the bushes
 
besho naadazina’iganing.
by the box where I get mail.
 
Andawendaanaawaa Manaadendamaazowin
They needed an Honor Song
 
mii wenji-nagamotawagwaa
so I sang to them
 
nisidawenmangwaa miinawaa
because we understand them again
 
ezhi-manaadenimangwaa ingiw wiidokawiyangidwaa
the way we respect those who keep us company
 
gabe biboon
all winter.
 
Gaawiin da-giizhokoniyesiiwag misawa
They do not need to dress warm and yet
 
giizhokawiyangidwaa gidode’iminaaning.
they warm our hearts.