Every December, as we begin to seek our way down the steps into the last darkness before the light returns, I carry within me the story of the Conestogas, the last tiny village of Susquehannock people who lived in Lancaster, who were brutally massacred by the Paxtang Boys, a band of white men who wanted to wipe out the Native people.
I suppose it’s because last week I was going through some of my poetry that mentioned them that their names were in my head, but this morning during my insomniac looping, the names began to appear in my brain-loop, like messages: Sheehays, Wa-a-shen, Ess-Canesh, Tea-wonsha-i-ong, Kannenquas, Tee-kau-ley. These were the six who were murdered in their village in Conestoga on the morning of December 14, 1763. I tried several years ago to memorize their names, but I didn’t realize that I had managed it until the wee hours of this morning. They appeared like a message. Two weeks later, the marauders broke into the Lancaster jail, where the remaining six adults and eight children of the Conestoga band were being kept for their protection, and killed them all.
May we do better in these days. May we be more effective at standing between the vulnerable ones and the marauders. How can we keep the Paxtang Boys from riding again?
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Today’s Prompt is to write a poem that begins: I Want __(Blank)__. I am tired and I still have work to do, so this will be a little riff.
I Want the Moon
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
I want the moon on a platter.
I want my cake and a side of pie.
I want a day when no one needs me.
I want a Michelangelo sky.
I want to wander in an oak grove.
I want to sing incantations in the rain.
I want to run away to islands.
I want to come back home again.
I want to sleep in a seaside hammock.
I want to memorize every color of blue.
I want to write a thousand poems.
I want to spend more time with you.
1. Sometimes things just work out better than you expect them to. Big sighs of relief.
2. These two little (not-so-little) rosy-cheeked folks at my table.
3. How Jon takes care of us when I can hardly remember to take care of myself.
5. The comfort of knowing that you are there, holding all this, too. So many of us are doing the Work, day by day and minute by minute. So much love.
May we walk in Beauty!