From the west, you have given me the cup
of living water and the sacred bow,
the power to make live and to destroy.
You have given me a sacred wind and the herb
from where the white giant lives –
the cleansing power and the healing.
The daybreak star and the pipe,
you have given from the east;
and from the south, the nation’s sacred hoop
and the tree that was to bloom.
To the center of the world you have taken me
and showed the goodness and the beauty
and the strangeness of the greening earth, the only mother –
and there the spirit shapes of things,
as they should be,
you have shown to me and I have seen.
At the center of this sacred hoop you have said
that I should make the tree to bloom.
With tears running, O Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather –
with running tears I must say now that
the tree has never bloomed.
A pitiful old man, you see me here,
and I have fallen away and have done nothing.
Here at the center of the world,
where you took me when I was young and taught me;
here, old, I stand, and the tree is withered,
Grandfather, my Grandfather!
Again, and maybe the last time on this earth,
I recall the great vision you sent me.
It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom
and fill with singing birds.
Hear me, not for myself, but for my people; I am old.
Hear me that they may once more go back into the sacred hoop
and find the good red road, the shielding tree!