Poetry by River Urke

~ Gichigami ~

Oh powerful Nookomis!

You take my breath away
every morning
when my eyes set upon you.

Some days you are gentle and soothing,
others you are raging with passion.

At times people fear you
At most they are in awe

You are Nokomis to all!

Then why are you poisoned every day?
Where is the respect you deserve?

Oh powerful Nookomis!

Are you laughing or crying at us humans?

River Maria Urke 5/06


I grew up on the very tip of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. The lake is a big part of who I am along with my Anishinaabe/Ojibwe heritage. I use a couple of Ojibwe words in the poem: Gichigami -Lake Superior and Nookomis- grandmother.

When I wrote this poem in 2006 people were battling over the water of Lake Superior. There was a water shortage in the Southwest and they wanted water piped down to them. All the states around the lake and Canada voted against their proposal. As I remember, they had used up all available water even in the water table. I do not know what they ended up doing for water.

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One thought on “Poetry by River Urke

  1. Fitting words River 🙂 “Man did not weave the web of life – he is merely a strand in it.
    Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” Chief Seattle, 1854.

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