The Bodoc (Bois díArc) Tree


In autumn, 1798, Big Owl, Tunica chief,

Led his band upon the wooded land

That would in time be claimed,

In the curious way of certain tribes,

As my great-great-grandfatherís own, and


Big Owl, Tunica chief,

Saw the tree, knurled, crooked,

Thorny branches, and

Upon the ground round green balls

Covered with grainy green,

Scented, curiously scented, and


Taking his stone hatchet,

Big Owl chopped off a long branch,

Chopped off the thorns,

Bent it, and in the bending

Saw in his mindís eye

That it was a bow.


--December 7, 2013