Bashō's Road

to the small poem and the quiet voice within

phil george | ambition

Ambition

This summer I shall
Return to our Longhouse
Hide beneath a feathered hat,
And become an Old Man.

 

Phil George (of the Nez Percé Nation at Lapwai, Washington)[from the WHISPERING WIND, Poetry by Young American Indians, edited by Terry Allen, Doubleday, 1972.]

The works of Phil George (b. 1946), a Wallowa Nez Percé poet, have been published in several anthologies, including The Remembered Earth (1979) and Dancing on the Rim of the World (1990). His poetry has even been read on popular television shows, such as the Tonight Show and the Dick Cavett Show. Born in Seattle, Washington, George attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also a champion Traditional Plateau dancer. George wrote, produced, and narrated the program A Season for Grandmothers for the Public Broadcasting Service. His work is showcased at the Nez Percé National Historical Park in Spaulding, Idaho.

7 Comments

  1. Alice D'Alessio

    March 6, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I like how the mystery of the “feathered hat” brings this one to life. More of these?

  2. I’m always amazed at how much some people can say
    in so few words. This is one of those poems. The taking
    control of the inevitable, the acceptance. beautiful.

  3. Forgive the lameness of the comment, but a very nice poem.

  4. I’m with Barbara…that would be my title, just warming up. Stellar.

  5. cold wind roars
    around the longhouse
    drawing my spirit
    out the smokehole

  6. Jim Roseberry

    March 8, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Envy and delight make a strange combination. Should I
    look for I look for my own longhouse? What a pleasant
    refuge from the clutter around me. The poem evokes this
    image so simply.

  7. The poem evokes a wisp of longing in me to find that special place I used to have when I first discovered my inner poet–nice reminder it’s still there; I just have to want to go inside.

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