Washing the World

with a mournful but driving feel, in Bm, 2/2 time

in the dark, in the bitter wind
listen to a dream
grandmothers stand
shoulder to shoulder, on the rim of a hill
bend as one, and grasp one thing together

ask them, in the dream world, why
do they cry? they will show you in reply
their shawls of many colours, spread these wings
sweep you in, teach you how

once a year, in the dark of the year we wash
the whole world in a day—for one day, we cry 


until they're home, until they all are home 


from one dawn to the next mourning
for the broken wailing for regrets

love lost, wrong words, wrong actions
unbalanced moments and all the cracks between heart
and heart, parent and child
lover and beloved friend, nation and nation
creature, and creature of another kind

for what we choose and what we neglect to choose
for what we wish we'd known
for each hand unclasped tongue unbridled
one whisper falling short of heard


until they're home, until they are all home 


the bread far from   the hunger                                         the apology
the confusion            the broken road 
       
these things we gather in this blanket
bone and sand and sage
we wash the world, between us
hold this blanket, fill it with our tears
and when we have cried
from one dawn to the next

then we will rise, and we will dance 


until they're home, until they all are home 


lay your hands upon the truth of beauty's loss
heavy, soft as moss, this blanket
full of tears and dust and dying
becomes ocean cradle, healing, dark
the promise, washed clean by our sorrow

today crying out, as we're birthing tomorrow

not so much redemption
as the law of moon and season
calls for justice

one day, the lawmakers must
exit their echoing halls, fall in
with the grandmothers dancing
carry it                 cry it clean 

until they're home, until they are all home 

until light through their bodies
translates to rainbows hung over the land

until light through their bodies
translates to rainbows strung over this land

until light through our bodies
translates to rainbows shining over our land 

until we're home, until we all are home

Anna Marie Sewell, "Washing the World," from prairiepomes.com. Copyright © 2013, 2018 by Anna Marie Sewell.  Reprinted by permission of Anna Marie Sewell.