Pat Grantt

This poem is based on a Canadian Geographic March/April 1996 article titled: The spirit of Haida Gwaii.

In the time of ice and winter, wind and snow were all that came

Glaciers ruled their own dominion covering all within their range

Comes a time of subtle warming, shifting ice gouged out a path

Water followed in its footsteps changing landscapes as it passed.

Fleeing upward to the mountains leaving most things from their past.

Haida people fled in terror to escape the water's wrath.

On the edge of the new land mass ocean height began to climb

Watching gods wept tears of sorrow adding salt that made it brine.

Easing humans in their mourning kindly gods bequeathed a boon.

Placed an island in the ocean where a nation would soon bloom.

Thanking spirits for their counsel Haida people worked with trees.

Setting poles along the shoreline carved with gods that they had pleased.

Written in those grains of cedar is the history of this land.

Voiced in language that flowed freely from the work of carving hands.

They still stand around that island giving meaning to old worlds.

Part of folklore slowing waning lest we care to save their words.