Shadows of Birds – Guest Post by Felicity Sidnell Reid…

Lullaby for a boy buried 7,500 years ago

at L’Anse Amour, Labrador

Lay his fragile flute, my dears,

Safely wrapped in woven scraps,

Near his fingers, stilled at last.

Fever’s gone and peace returns,

Innocence replaces pain,

Once again my eyes can see

The buoyant youth, he left behind.”

Grief has frozen mother’s arms

About his body, cold as stone

Pushed and pulled by tidal waves.

.

Years of sea cold lullabies

Whispered in his salty ears,

Once his life had slipped away.

He’d been young, a traveler,

Loved companion at the hearth,

Where, one day, he took a bone,

The hollow shaft of some great gull

And whittled it into a flute.

Then wild music rocked the waves

And blew among the flocks of birds.

.

Great auks nested there, and terns

Spun in winds above the beach.

Out at sea the supple seals

Tossed their heads above the swell.

Winter, when the caribou

Stalked across the inland plains,

Drew men to the common hunt.

But in summer, houses here,

Built of stone and roofed with hide,

Opened to them ample seas.

.

They buried him above the strait,

Behind his grave, the well known hills,

Before him the unchanging sea.

Spears and harpoon, walrus tusk

Lie beside his slender bones,

Red paint, pendants and his flute.

His shade salutes all voyagers

Paddling past his tumulus.

And gulls still rise from racing waves

And cast their shadows on his grave.

.

(At L’Anse Amour, on the Labrador coast, archeologists uncovered the oldest known, elaborate burial found in North America. 7,500 years ago Maritime Archaic people dug this grave and built a mound for a thirteen year old family-member, who lies surrounded by gifts and personal treasures; red ochre and graphite, a mortar and pestle to grind them, spears made of caribou bone, a harpoon for hunting sea mammals, pendants, ivory decorations, and a bird bone flute.)

Felicity Sidnell Reid

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19 thoughts on “Shadows of Birds – Guest Post by Felicity Sidnell Reid…

  1. Felicity! This poem is wondrous! I’d like to be in your head some days — or perhaps not! (smile)
    What a remarkable subject to write a poem to. And how beautiful is your tribute/elegy/lullaby. I wish I could write poetry like this, but perhaps it is enough to read it and marvel at it.

    Liked by 2 people

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