09 February 2021

#9 - Haida Gwaii

(Russell J Turner)

Raven Tales are the traditional human and animal creation stories of the Pacific Northwest Coast. This sonnet draws on a tale of the Haida people

White raven catch a pretty eagle eye

a nod, a wink adornment to his scheme

to liberate her father’s hidden dreams

of fire, water, baubles of the sky.

Above the trackless territory he flies,

to hang them high, to make this island gleam

by starlight as the overflowing streams

all whisper to the worlds that hurry by.

Then fires flame and embers fall to hide

beneath the rocks, to make the mountains crack

with industry, with arrogance and pride

with hearth light that still draws the traveller back.

The trickster shapes creation as a guide,

the cinders turn his finery to black.


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