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Fall 1995, Volume 12.3



Lance Henson

Lance Henson, a member of the Southern Cheyenne Nation, has published sixteen books of poetry in the U.S. and Europe and was a featured lecturer for the United States Information Agency on a tour of New Guinea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand in 1992. He has recently been selected for a residency at the Smithsonian Institution through the Distinguished Native American Scholars program.


prayer for the lenape

a flower waits a long time alone
in the shadow of its seed

what does it remember
that it does not give us
in its blooming

i hold a brown autumn leaf
it rests barely in this world
in my hand

soon the wind will arrive
with rain
the evening moving on
toward night

we will begin a journey
a blush of dark light among us
anointing in the late hour
these people made of dreams

after a long time remembering
there will be this phrase of night

where a sistered moon
will rise
over the river
and there you will be seen

a long way from sorrow 


concerto in four movements

this wind on your face awakens
a music of sadness
of fullness

where will you rest

against the song that deepens
your voice
or in the sorrow of a small hand

waving goodbye

i have watched a long time
the other shore upon which you climbed

drying the dreams

that have not stayed
in the river

in half light
we watch what happens
it keeps on happening

the shadow of its hands on our faces

where is the hour that remembers you

you untie from the unsteady
wings of the day

the words you have not spoken

out of the great whirl of exile
you will find your voice
in the solitude of a prayer

you will tie your name

to eternity


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