Betsy is our host today for Poetry Friday at her blog, Teaching Young Writers. Run right over to this blog to read and love so many beautiful words!
Today is my birthday, today, October 12th, Columbus Day!
I don't say that about Columbus Day much anymore, unless I have a lot of time to explain. When I was a little girl I thought it was really special to have a birthday on a really special day. By the time I was in high school, I knew a little more about Westward Expansion and the story of American Indians. In college, I had the pleasure of a poetry class with John Neihardt, poet laureate of Missouri at that time, and the author of Black Elk Speaks, an eye opening book for me. I dug deeper. Now, all these past years as a middle school teacher, I've tried hard to help students learn what is the real truth of Columbus and other explorers, or other people who were explorers and took the land. It's important to inspire the search also for as much truth as can be found when digging deeply. And, important to examine old books to question and verify.
So, to celebrate my birthday, I give the gift of a poem by Jimmie Durham, Columbus Day, found on a site that gives a small background of the poet and the poem. I don't know this poem, but from my search, I gather that it has been quite controversial through the years. It was first published in 1983.
In school I was taught the names
A bloodline all the way to General Miles,
Daniel Boone and General Eisenhower.