Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Pawnee Poem: Invoking the Visions

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
Now they cross the threshold, gliding softly.

Holy visions!
Wither come, we pray you, come unto us,
Bringing with you joy;
Come, O come to us, holy visions,
Bringing with you joy.

Holy visions!
Near are they approaching, near to us here,
Bringing with them joy;
Nearer still they come — holy visions —
Bringing with them joy.

Holy visions!
Lo! Before the doorway pause they, waiting,
Bearing gifts of joy;
Pausing there they wait — holy visions —
Bearing gifts of joy.

Holy visions!
Now they cross the threshold, gliding softly
Toward the space withing;
Softly gliding on — holy visions —
Toward the space within.

Holy visions!
They the lodge are filling with their presence,
Fraught with hope and peace;
Filling all the lodge — holy visions —
Fraught with hope and peace.

Holy visions!
Now they touch the children, gently touch them
Giving dreams of joy;
Gently touch each one — holy visions —
Giving dreams of joy.

Holy visions!
Ended now their mission, pass they outward,
Yet they leave us joy;
Pass they all from us — holy visions —
Yet they leave us joy.

Holy visions!
They, the sky ascending, reach their dwelling;
There they rest above;
There their dwelling reach — holy visions —
There they rest above.


With a change in seasons we like to reflect on the wisdom and words of the First Nations. Invoking the Visions is a poem attributed to the Pawnee Nation that especially resonates during this holiday season. This particular version comes from, Native American Wisdom — A Spiritual Tradition at One with Nature, published in 2009.

Native American Wisdom — A Spiritual Tradition at One with Nature, is an "engaging collection that contains moving quotations from leading American Indians, including chiefs and medicine men, along with poems, songs, prose, speeches, and stories past and present. Organized alphabetically, the spiritual insights gathered here are grouped by the main Native American Nations, from Apache to Zuni—including the Sioux, Eskimo, Cherokee, and many more."