The Centuries of Pain



We see the native go his way

So listless, sad and poor.


A copper corpse that’s tumbled up

along a shrouded shore.


Too often as we watch him bend

beneath his piteous yoke,

we call him ‘Noble Red skin’

and mean it as a joke.


Too often we just see the crust

Of sickness, dirt and sin,

and never try to seek the soul

that flickers there within.


How can we know the tears that flood

the centuries of pain?


How can we know the awful loss

of mountain, wood and plain?


How can we know the losing fight

against foul greed and lust?


How can we know the pledge betrayed

the ever broken trust?


For locked up in the native mind,

behind his cryptic eyes

there lives the cold pained memory

of Mother Earth’s lost Paradise.


A Paradise of wood and hill,

Of river, lake and stone,

whose dwellers only asked they

be left at peace – alone.


The other younger races

who came from Europe’s shores

to ‘civilize the savages’,

Ah well, they did their chores.


With bullet, gun and bottle,

with slippery tongue and pen

they robbed him of his Heaven on Earth,

for they were civilized men.


Oh, someday when all ‘Rights and wrongs!’

are balanced on the beam

there may be judgement to repay,

the theft of natives’ dreams.


Meanwhile a sorry folk we are,

Who do not seem to care,

that our red brother prostrate lies

because we put him there….


Excerpt from the book  the way called beautiful by Helen Bird

AVAILABLE ON and kindle version too




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