An Elder's Prayer
They frack the earth. Drills fly into the soil
And whirl through rock, a stream of chemicals
Shot down into the shale, the oracles
Of business, profit, subjugation, oil
Enraptured by technology, the coil
Inside the engine driving humankind,
The writ of progress, greed, force sealed and signed.
The oilmen say, we need the fracked-up oil.
An elder walks into the winter cold
And kneels beside a frozen lake and lifts
His arms toward dark clouds, his spirit bold
Enough to recognize creation’s gifts.
“The radiance of water, soil, and sky,”
He sang. “Is in a baby’s first-breath cry.”
Thomas Davis has had five books published, including his epic poem The Weirding, A Dragon Epic by Bennison Books and Sustaining the Forest, the People, and the Spirit by State University of New York (SUNY) Press, and three novels. He has also edited three magazines, one anthology of poetry, and had articles and essays published in a variety of magazines and journals. Two of his plays have been produced by small theater groups. In addition to his writing he has been the President or Chief Academic Officer of five tribal colleges or universities in the United States. An "Elder's Prayer" is an Italian sonnet from a series written about the Standing Rock standoff.