Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Wiwanyanka Wacipi

April 4, 1977 - A warrior
is sentenced to life in prison
for a crime he didn't commit
by a country that knows it
and doesn't care.
And so begins
Leonard's solitary Sun Dance
injustice transformed by his spirit
into a sacred offering.

The Sacred Tree grows far from his cell
where a tiny seed -- a mere zygote
of healing for wounded spirits
renewal for looted lives
hope for generations to come --
took root, became a Seedling
was watered with the blood of patriots
and tended by Anna Mae's spirit-hands.
The Sacred Tree grows elsewhere
but it lives in the warrior's heart

It is not of his choosing,
this danceground of concrete and steel
this arbor of cold iron boughs
but he dances with honor,
just the same
because this Dance is a gift
payment in pain
for healing, renewal, and hope.

The Seedling sees a President
pardon those who would not fight
-- but not the warrior who did --
America's fever-dance to a disco drum
and Jonestown die of Kool-Aid Faith
It sees Maggie take charge
and Soviets foot-slogging
into Afganistan

and the world turns
and the Tree grows
and the warrior Dances

The Seedling hears warnings
from an island, three miles long
and a mountain where Mother shouts
her fury in a cascade of fire and hot ash
Imagines a dreamer shot down
while Americans ponder questions vast and petty
What are the rings of Saturn
and who shot J.R.?

and the world turns
and the Tree grows
and the warrior Dances

The Sacred Tree grows stronger
but still, it is only a Sapling
easily wounded by malestroms of discord
split by the lighting of anger
But the Sapling survives
finding shelter from the storm
in the hearts of Warriors

The Sapling sees hostages freed
and a peacemaker murdered,
a fairytale princess,
Falkland Island tug-o-war
It sees Sally ride a sky-truck,
soldiers die in Beirut
and Jessie run on a rainbow.
Mother Earth shrugs and brings down a city

and the world turns
and the Tree grows
and the warrior Dances

The Sapling sees Challengers die
and Ukranian soil defiled
betrayed by the arrogance of Man
harnessing powers he does not respect
electronic ministries Praise The Lord
and preach the gospel of cash flow and greed,
Soviets withdraw burned fingers from Afganistan.
It sees freedom stand toe-to-toe with a tank

and the world turns
and the Tree grows
and the warrior Dances

The Sapling has matured,
become a Tree, Sacred, Wakan
rooted in Mother Earth, embracing Father Sky,
calling its People to Ceremony
Some come to feel the wonder
some come to shelter in its living arms
some gather seeds
and sow its Sacredness near and far
Some break off twigs and carry them away,
mistaking them for relics of a lost civilization
But the Sacred Tree is strong and tall
and still whole.

The Sacred Tree sees a wall fall
whole countries freed
El Salvador come to terms
with itself, and smart bombs fly
for god, for country, for cheap oil.
It watches L.A. burn
as Hope's homeboy survives flowers
and warlords rampage in the desert

and the world turns
and the Tree grows
and the warrior Dances

The Sacred Tree sees America
take out a contract on the poor
and gasp in horror
at the skeletons of war
walking in far-off lands and
crowding fences for a piece of bread.
Mother Earth cries a flood of tears.
The glove did not fit
and Heaven's Gates Bopp into oblivion
It sees the fairy tale's end,
a princess die
and a mother of millions mourned
And still

the world turns
the Tree grows
the warrior Dances

For twenty-one years
Leonard has Danced
This Wiwanyanka Wacipi
painting his visions
and sharing his strength
transforming injustice
for his People
It is not of his choosing,
this danceground of concrete and steel
this arbor of cold iron boughs
but he dances with honor,
just the same
because this Dance is a gift
payment in pain
for healing, renewal, and hope
It is time, and past time
for the warrior's release
Let him go to his People
and be comforted
He has paid in full
for healing, renewal and hope.
It is time, and past time
for this Dance to be done

--Karen J Gould--9/12/97


Return to the Leonard Peltier Tribute Page.