I recently saw an exhibit of art, among which were several baskets which had been hand made by Indian (Native American) artists. This got me to thinking about an article I had read (probably in National Geographic) which had left me with a very strong image and feeling.
I tried to put a little of that into the type of "basket" I make...a poem about a Native American woman making a basket.
Old Indian Basket
To build a basket,
Wake before dawn and walk
To the bayou - with your eye out for snakes,
Which imitate the reeds you seek.
Split and peel the cane with teeth
And with hands hard, dried, and worn
By water, weather, sun, and cold
And by the cane - always the cane.
Lay it out to cure,
Wait until it says it's ready
To be woven with the others.
Who taught you the patterns?
Who taught her?
How far back in time
Does a simple basket go?
When we see the basket you make,
We are seeing the baskets made
Over thousands of years.
Were you always there?