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'Willow Wind'

Lost Horse Press

by Henry Real Bird

In the willow wind
the feeling will begin
Life, liberty, and death
Democracy in our breath
Born of the dew, and soil
in the heart of our soul

From the backwaters, still waters
Tears of war and joy victory covers,
We are placed in middle of lodges that are different
for them to make us become nothing,
End that will never come—

So go ahead, hit the sacred drum
Many ships arrived from where the sun sets
Paul Revere shouts war of terror
Boston Tea Party deceit furor
Echo of chains clanging New Orleans slave trade square
announce completion, endless circle of freedom fair

We have sent our step into prosperity
to let yesterday dance into obscurity
All of us, where we come from, are one
multi-race America, we have won
We just want to live in peace in the willow wind
Thank you, uhoe.

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Henry Real Bird
Henry Real Bird

Henry Real Bird is a rancher and educator who raises bucking horses on Yellow Leggins Creek in the Wolf Teeth Mountains. He was born and raised on the Crow Indian Reservation in the tradition of the Crow by his grandparents, Mark and Florence Real Bird. Educated in Montana at Crow Agency, Hardin, Bozeman and Billings, he has a Master’s Degree in general education. Henry has punched cows, worked in rodeos, and taught school from Kindergarten to college level. He began writing poetry in 1969 after an extended stay in the hospital. He still speaks Crow as his primary language and feels this has helped in writing his poetry. Henry Real Bird served as the Poet Laureate of Montana from 2009-2011, and was named the 2011-2012 Academy of Western Artists Cowboy Poet of the Year. His previous collection of poems, Horse Tracks (Lost Horse Press, 2010), was named 2011 Poetry Book of the Year by the High Plains Book Awards. "Willow Wind" was published in his 2013 collection, Wolf Teeth.

Chérie Newman is an arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. Her weekly literary program, The Write Question, is broadcast on several public radio stations, and available online at and
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