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Author Topic: Old Axacan  (Read 467 times)


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Old Axacan
« on: August 03, 2014, 04:54:08 pm »
Patches of rotting bark still clinging
It's leaves and smaller branches now humus
An upturned tangle of decaying roots exposed
Wild grape and other creepers adorning boughs
Laying here with numerous other long toppled trees
Casualties of the many storms battering this land
While sitting at rest upon one of these fallen giants
I briefly wonder what past savage tempest fell it
All the while mindful of my shadowy surroundings

Seeing no humans or hearing their sounds
This does not necessarily mean that I am alone
A cylindrical wood borer peers out from it's hole
High in a nearby beech squirrels scold my intrusion
Soon to quiet down realizing they faced no danger
The short lived silence broken by a crow's cawing
Welcoming me to old Axacan, land of wandering ghosts
This broad neck of land remaining unsettled for centuries
One cannot help but sense something terrible occurred

Slowly making my way over fallen timber
Around thick clumps of bayberry, holly and laurel
I come to what the colonials named College Creek
Meandering south, it widens and flows into the James
Stunted gnarled cedars lining it's yellow clay banks
Marsh grass and reeds undulate in the summer breeze
Ospreys hover while a great blue heron awaits breakfast
Catfish, striped bass and perch going out with the tide
While iridescent dragonflies makes multiple landings

Here I am always careful and ever reverent
Having visited often enough to somewhat know
This ground's ancient history, shrouded in mystery
When dire wolves and big cats stalked humankind
The various bands of hunter-gatherers passing through
Long before the corn mother and her sisters arrived
Venison, rabbit and turkey slowly roasting on a spit
The aroma of smoked oysters, clams and bony shad
Hickory smoke drifting about an archaic village

Erosion and roots revealing countless artifacts
Knapped flakes, stone tools and shards of pottery
Shell middens and many heat cracked hearth cobbles
Sitting upon the bank, my back against a cedar bole
With eyes wide open I drift through time in a daydream
A large village of many reed mat covered longhouses
Cornfields, gardens of beans, pumpkins and squash
Huge dugout cypress canoes pulled up on the bank
Seemingly prosperous, but soon to fade and fall

One can only imagine this initial tragedy
Children stolen away by beings from the sea
The young son of a great werowance captured
An ancient prophecy, the horned serpent's return
His father the chief died of grief not long afterwards
The people abandoned their village and dispersed
Going off to live with the Paspahegh and Kiskiack
Sentinels were posted to watch both creek and river
A lone Quiyoughcosuck remained with their dead

Ten winters passed and the lost son returned
Brought home by those strange beings from the sea
Some of them wore black robes and chose not to leave
With them an odd pale boy of their own strange kind
Fearing they were Tagkanysough come to cause harm
The people made them live a good distance away
Still they often returned to Kiskiack begging for food
While demanding the people change their old ways
Unable to fend for themselves and out of balance

Recently returned, Paquiquino knew their language
An only heir, before assuming the title of great Werowance
He would have a word with Father Juan Bautista de Segura
One of his old mentors in Cuba and the Holy Kingdom of Spain
Where young Paquiquino was known as Don Luis de Velasco
Baptized a Christian, educated and introduced to King Philip
Once again in Tsenacommacah it all started to molt away
With several warriors, he came to their crude little mission
Options to be presented and alternative measures applied

The black robes had brought this drought and famine
Some people had mysteriously fell very ill and horribly died
Now they wanted more food than the Kiskiack could spare
Offering to cut wood, Paquiquino and the others procured axes
Refusing to leave this land the Jesuits were swiftly struck down
Only the odd little alter boy Alonso was allowed to safely leave
Two summers later the Spaniards returned for bloody revenge
Killing thirty innocent Warraskoyack, some hung from yardarms
Throughout the land thousands died from a terrible sickness

A tree frog's trill brought me out of this daydream
Here it is usually received as a sign foretelling wet weather
Rising slowly, I look down the creek and see ominous clouds
Wondering if there is time to beat this approaching storm
Parked over a rugged mile away on the Colonial Parkway
Tobacco is offered to the wind and tossed on creek water
Showing faith by taking time to light and smoke my pipe
Walking stick in hand and striking out at an easy gate
One should never have doubt when appeasing spirits
Muckhswe kee sishet tepe?


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