Native American Poetry

Wedding Prayer (Apache)
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place
To enter into the days of your togetherness
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Chants to the Deity (Ojibwa)
I am the living body of the Great Spirit above,
The Great Spirit, the Ever-living Spirit above,
The living body of the Great Spirit
Whom all must heed.
Heh! heh! heh! heh!
I am the Great Spirit of the sky,
The overshadowing power.
I illumine earth,
I illumine heaven.
Way, ho! ho! ho! ho!
Ah say!
what Spirit, or Body, is this Body?
That fills the world around,
Speak man!
Ah say!
What Spirit, or Body, is this Body?
Way, ho! ho! ho! ho!

The Song of the Lenape Warriors Going Against the Enemy (Delaware)
O poor me!
Who am going out to fight the enemy,
And know not whether I shall return again,
To enjoy the embraces of my children
And my wife.
O poor creature!
Whose life is not in his own hands,
Who has no power over his own body,
But tries to do his duty
For the welfare of his nation.
O! thou Great Spirit above!
Take pity on my children
And on my wife!
Prevent their mourning on my account!
Grant that I may be successful in this attempt-
That I may slay my enemy,
And bring home the trophies of war
To my dear family and friends,
That we may rejoice together.
O! take pity on me!
Give me strength and courage to meet my enemy,
Suffer me to return again to my children,
To my wife
And to my relations!
Take pity on me and preserve my life
And I will make to thee a sacrifice.

Hawk Chant of the Saginaws
The hawks turn their heads nimbly round;
They turn to look back on their flight.
The spirits of sun-place have whispered them words,
They fly with their messages swift,
They look as they fearfully go,
They look to the farthermost end of the world,
Their eyes glancing bright, and their beaks boding harm.