The pipe is longer than long.
No one knows where it starts
Or where it ends.
It carries our dreams.
It carries our stories.
You can put your ear to it and hear beautiful singing.
That is the sound of the spirit running through it,
The spirit of the beautiful beasts
Who used to people this land.
We make offerings to it,
Offerings of flowers and hair,
For without it we would not be here.
The pipe is our mother, our father,
It is our teacher,
It is our communion.
It is where we will go when we die:
Our spirits will be sucked in.
When the pipe sweats
We collect the droplets
To baptize our newborns,
And to anoint the dead,
To heal the sick.
The pipe dives under the surface,
It spans chasms,
It runs over ledges with ease.
It was built to last forever.
It is made out of a substance
From another time
By people who knew the Mach-een’.
When the children tremble at night
And call out to us in terror
We remind them of the pipe.
The great pipe is with us, we say,
The pipe loves us.
The pipe taught us how to pray,
The pipe belongs to no one.
When a young man comes of age
He follows the pipe.
We send him off decked with flowers
With a red streak on his temples.
The pipe leads to a better place.
We see him off with this ancient blessing:
May your journey span horizons
May you always have Oy-al,
May your Mach-een’ never die.
May you not forget us.
May we not forget you.
May the pipe lead you to the source.
And may the source be good.
GARY LINDORFF is poet-in-residence at ThisCantBeHappening! He lives in Vermont and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org