First Nation

Bob Raintree works at odd-jobs
He’s handier than most
He’s good with wood
And good with grass
He drives a mean fence-post
His hands relate an outcast’s fate
So cracked and dry and scarred
No rest for him
Most days are grim
His childhood too was hard.

But once his folks caressed the land
As Mother to us all
And watched the seasons pass with joy
By wood or waterfall
And tilled the earth
For speckled corn
And watched the red-tail soar
And shot the deer respectfully
And trapped for winter’s store.

Bob Raintree scarce remembers
A show of kind respect
Or hand in hand
Or listening ear
It’s mostly just neglect.
He hears the talk
As pale men squawk
Of “drunken injun’s thirst”
They don’t recall
He held it all
His people placed here first.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario


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