Take Heart 27 June 2012

Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in Culture

Take Heart 27 June 2012

A Conversation in Poetry

edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate


Carol Willette Bachofner is Rockland’s new poet laureate. She reveals in today’s poem that injustices toward Native Americans, a longstanding feature of our national history, continue in the present day. Carol writes: “As an Abanaki poet, I heal the hurt and honor my culture by writing.”


Unknown Algonquin Females, Circa 1800s

by Carol Willette Bachofner


They dug up my grandmother, moved her

to the museum. No one stopped them.

I had no say. De-recognized by government,

filed at the BIA under “I” (Indian, former),

she’s been reduced to anthropology, curated

by bureaucrats, her bones on display

with the bones of a woman from an enemy tribe:

(Unknown Algonquin Females, Circa 1800s).

No one sang a travel song for her to ease her bones

along the way; no giveaway, no mourning strings

to soften the sorrow. I have watched their grandmas

prayed and cried into the ground, names cut

into marble, bodies preserved under stones safe

behind iron gates. The governor’s announcement claims

today: There are no Abenaki Indians left in Vermont.



Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2009 by Carol Willette Bachofner. Reprinted from "Crab Orchard Review," 2009, by permission of Carol Willette Bachofner. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, special assistant to the Maine poet laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or (207) 228-8263.

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