The Old Man's Lazy - Peter Blue Cloud

The old man's lazy,

I heard the Indian Agent say,

has no pride, no get up

and go. Well, he came out

here and walked around my

place, that agent. Steps

all thru the milkweed and

curing wormwood; tells

me my place is overgrown and

should he made use

of.

The old split cedar

fence stands at many

angles, and much of it

lies on the ground like

a curving sentence of

stick writing. An old

language, too, black with

age, with different

shades of green of moss

and lichen.

He always

says he understands us

Indians,

and why don't

I fix the fence at least:

so I took some fine

hawk feathers fixed

to a miniature woven

shield

and hung this

from all upright post

near the house.

He

came by last week

and looked all around

again, eyed the feathers

for a long time.

He didn't

say anything, and he didn't

smile even, or look within

himself for the hawk.

Maybe sometime I'll

tell him that the fence

isn't mine to begin with,

but was put up by

the white guy who used

to live next door.

It was

years ago. He built a cabin,

then put up the fence. He

only looked at me once,

after his fence was up,

he nodded at me as if

to show that he knew I

was here, I guess.

It was

a pretty fence, enclosing

that guy, and I felt lucky

to be on the outside

of it.

Well, that guy

dug holes all over his

place, looking for gold

and I guess

he never

found any. I watched

him grow old for over

twenty years, and bitter,

I could feel his anger

all over the place.

And

that’s when I took to

leaving my place to do

a lot of visiting.

Then

one time I came home

and knew he was gone

for good.

My children would

always ask me why I

didn’t move to town

and be closer to them.

Now, they

tell me I’m lucky to be

living way out here.

And

they bring their children

and come out and visit me,

and I can feel that they

want to live out here

too, but can’t

for some reason, do it.

Each day

a different story is

told me by the fence:

the rain and wind and snow;

the sun and moon shadows,

this wonderful earth,

this Creation.

I tell my grandchildren

many of these stories,

perhaps

this too is one of them.












The old man's lazy,

I heard the Indian Agent say,

has no pride, no get up

and go. Well, he came out

here and walked around my

place, that agent. Steps

all thru the milkweed and

curing wormwood; tells

me my place is overgrown and

should he made use

of.

The old split cedar

fence stands at many

angles, and much of it

lies on the ground like

a curving sentence of

stick writing. An old

language, too, black with

age, with different

shades of green of moss

and lichen.

He always

says he understands us

Indians,

and why don't

I fix the fence at least:

so I took some fine

hawk feathers fixed

to a miniature woven

shield

and hung this

from all upright post

near the house.

He

came by last week

and looked all around

again, eyed the feathers

for a long time.

He didn't

say anything, and he didn't

smile even, or look within

himself for the hawk.

Maybe sometime I'll

tell him that the fence

isn't mine to begin with,

but was put up by

the white guy who used

to live next door.

It was

years ago. He built a cabin,

then put up the fence. He

only looked at me once,

after his fence was up,

he nodded at me as if

to show that he knew I

was here, I guess.

It was

a pretty fence, enclosing

that guy, and I felt lucky

to be on the outside

of it.

Well, that guy

dug holes all over his

place, looking for gold

and I guess

he never

found any. I watched

him grow old for over

twenty years, and bitter,

I could feel his anger

all over the place.

And

that’s when I took to

leaving my place to do

a lot of visiting.

Then

one time I came home

and knew he was gone

for good.

My children would

always ask me why I

didn’t move to town

and be closer to them.

Now, they

tell me I’m lucky to be

living way out here.

And

they bring their children

and come out and visit me,

and I can feel that they

want to live out here

too, but can’t

for some reason, do it.

Each day

a different story is

told me by the fence:

the rain and wind and snow;

the sun and moon shadows,

this wonderful earth,

this Creation.

I tell my grandchildren

many of these stories,

perhaps

this too is one of them.