Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

My Son’s Latest Poem

Canada’s Shame by Bruce Ray

give us back our names
as we lie in the cold
and dark Earth
our voices muffled by time
and it’s passing
memories rising up like
pale lilies from our bones
to say we still live
as long as our people
remember us –
let us walk with the
spirit bear once again
let us feel the skin of the land
and walk the fire’roads
of the deepest forest
let us return to the place
where we were born long ago
our names are all we have
our names are what we
leave behind -we speak from
our choked mouths
and hollowed out skulls
waiting now for the names
of recognition -golden eyes
still see -the starlight
and the moon of our sisters
give us back our names
don’t bury the truth beneath
like we’ve been buried
let us be proud of our culture
like we were before
the teachers came to fill
our heads with numbers
give us back our names
for surely we are only dead
if no-one speaks of us
resurrect us with the truth
of your truth
give us back our names
there are no stones on the ground
to mark our passing
there are no stories and tales
to celebrate us -they filled
our heads with useless knowledge
and they took away
our language and history
how we were made to speak
the god’tongue of our masters
we were compelled to think
with the colonized mind
and to put on the white masks
and live out the white dream
give us back our names

give us back the eternal spring
and the waters that rise up
from our open throats
as we sing of our captivity
and the injustice of what
has been done -how we wait for
someone to speak our names
we wait for our faces to be
uncovered from the dirt
as we share our secret story
with the children of mercy
give us back our names
give us back our names
and now a thousand and more
in the neglected graves of
residential schools
forced assimilation, some 150,000
children taken from their
families during this period and
placed in boarding schools.
in order to“’get rid of the Indian’
in the child.”
give us back our names
speak the sacred language
of trauma -let us rise again
bruised and beaten but unbowed
give us back our names
take our bodies and carry them
back to our people
let us sing the funeral songs
and invoke our ancestors
give us back our names
let us be angry and resolute
let us go through pain
let us walk through the fires
and let us feel the heat
give us back our names
and in the calling let us open
our eyes to see again
give us back our names
give us back our names


give us back our names
as we lie in the cold
and dark Earth
our voices muffled by time
and it’s passing
memories rising up like
pale lilies from our bones
to say we still live
as long as our people
remember us –
let us walk with the
spirit bear once again
let us feel the skin of the land
and walk the fire’roads
of the deepest forest
let us return to the place
where we were born long ago
our names are all we have
our names are what we
leave behind -we speak from
our choked mouths
and hollowed out skulls
waiting now for the names
of recognition -golden eyes
still see -the starlight
and the moon of our sisters
give us back our names
don’t bury the truth beneath
like we’ve been buried
let us be proud of our culture
like we were before
the teachers came to fill
our heads with numbers
give us back our names
for surely we are only dead
if no-one speaks of us
resurrect us with the truth
of your truth
give us back our names
there are no stones on the ground
to mark our passing
there are no stories and tales
to celebrate us -they filled
our heads with useless knowledge
and they took away
our language and history
how we were made to speak
the god’tongue of our masters
we were compelled to think
with the colonized mind
and to put on the white masks
and live out the white dream
give us back our names

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