Monday, April 22, 2013

The name is not the thing

photo taken early Spring 2012
© harrington
Hi! Welcome. Are you among the millions of Minnesotans complaining about the endless Winter of 2013? Or, are you among the millions of Minnesotans intentionally psyching themselves to be positive and not complain about the missing Spring of 2013? Those are the only two classes of Minnesotans left, based on unscientific, personal, random observations undertaken today. The photo was taken at the beginning of April of 2012. This year we've achieved the snow-free grass, several times, and the open water in the stream. No real buds opening or leaves developing yet this year. That's a good thing. The snow last Thursday and Friday brought down four of the trees near our driveway. If there were more leaves for the heavy, wet snow to cling to, we probably would have lost more. Never-the-less, it's April 2013, which means it's still National Poetry Month and I'd like to follow up on our consideration that a new nature poetics "study mind and language..." by today looking at an excerpt from a poem by Heid E. Erdrich in "Where One Voice Ends...."
Poem for Our Ojibwe Names

Those stars shine words right
into the center of the dream.

Gego zegizi kane
Gego zegizi kane
Maaji nii'm
Maaji gigidoon

So it is when we have our names.

We will not fear.
We start to sing,
to dance, to speak....
Since we don't have the entire poem, we need to focus on the mind and language concept. Have you ever been a stranger in a strange land, where you couldn't speak the language? It's rare for white, middle class Americans to conceive of being a minority. Have you ever heard of or read The Ugly American? How much language is central to our identity! Language is also central to poetry and to "mind." Heid Erdrich has another poem in the anthology titled Offering: Words. It might benefit you to find a copy and read it, plus the rest of Ojibwe Names. Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served daily here at My Minnesota.