All existence is perfect in my soul!!
|I sit and meditate on life|
from where it started in the womb
unto today --- no glory shines,
yet none are blanketed in gloom.
I wait unborn in ancient form
as time and destiny converge.
I stand erect, both boy and man
and from my boundless self emerge.
A new-born sun o'ertops the rim
to fill my canyon with the day
of death or some amazing life.
I stand and cry out "Yutta-hey!!!"
I've lived and loved and death has come
to still the voice and hide the face
of ones I've loved and lived to love.
I'll turn and fight or else give chase.
I've fed the white wolf in my soul.
I've battled fiercely 'gainst the black!
I've stood at bay and filled with doubt,
surrounded by a spectral pack.
I've failed and triumphed at my cause.
I've rushed to act but known delay.
I've done as must and as I would,
and now my cry is, "Yutta-hey!!!"
I've battled nature, men, and self;
befriended Life; made peace with death.
In tight embrace, I've clung to life
and fought to draw another breath.
My heart found too much room for hate
and greed and jealousy and fear,
but not enough for love to give
nor for the beauty I revere.
My trail has led through light and dark.
Two wolves still follow ev'ry day,
and still uncertain, I press on
and stand and cry out, "Yutta-hey!!!"
Shawn C. Bailey
November 29, 2022 11:12:49
Iambic Tetrameter --- ABCB
36 lines in 9 quatrains, grouped in threes
The term "yutta-hey" is apparently attributed to every group of indigenous people on this continent. I first encountered it while studying the Cherokee. It was described as a Cherokee battle cry which, contrary to European logic, doesn't mean "to victory" or "death to our enemy". Instead, the cry claimed to be a statement of the individual's utter and absolute contentment with life to that point. I compare it to the Klingon phrase, "Jajvam is a maj jaj to mi' nagh." This translates into English as, "Today is a good day to die." Neither the Klingon nor the Cherokee seems to be saying anything defeatist or negative like "If I die, I die." In modern English [shudder] it might be vaguely similar to the phrase, "It's all good."
What I came away from my studies with is an understanding of the phrase to mean, "I've had good times and bad. I've excelled at times and I've failed at times. I've been wise and I've been foolish. I am perfectly satisfied; perfectly content with everything about my life to this point. Nothing else matters."
I gain much more from the Cherokee (and Klingons, and every other sentient being I encounter) than a knowledge of another culture, another language, another way of life. I gain wisdom and understanding. More and more, I'm coming to believe that a "fool" is simply anyone who refutes wisdom because of its source.
Much gratitude to my friend, Buddhangela, for her review of this poem and for her suggestions on making it a more meaningful experience for readers.