The Legend of Áhasêstse'ó Falls.

If you should visit Áhasêstse’ó Falls,
When the night sky is a broken diamond,
When the wind cries through the trees,
Chances are you might hear something unexpected:
A voice hidden within wind, words spoken through water.
One heart lost in battle, another drowned deep
Both separated in life, irrevocably joined in death.

Wait and listen patiently,
For this tale requires a ready heart.
It is a story that has been told countless times
Over countless centuries,
But made no less powerful by its recitation.
It tells the tale of Swift Wind and Whispering Willow,
Two ill-fated lovers destined for the other.

Swift Wind was the fastest, the cleverest,
The best loved by far.
His father was the chief and life was good.
He was free to roam prairie and plain,
But while running brought him happiness,
It never satisfied his deep-rooted hunger;
It was a heart-heavy hunger.

Whispering Willow was the sweetest, the softest,
The best loved by far.
Her father was the chief and life was good.
She was free to weave her tapestries,
Her stories etched in slippery silk and rough wool,
But they never satisfied her deep-rooted hunger;
It was a heart-heavy hunger.

One night Whispering Willow was restless,
Tired of weaving, eager for movement.
She crept under cover of darkness,
Walking many miles until she chanced upon
The mighty Áhasêstse’ó Falls.
She sat on a rock, listening to the water roar,
Divining its secrets.

That same night Swift Wind found himself restless, too,
Tired of roaming prairie and plain,
He crept under cover of darkness,
Walking many miles until he chanced upon
The mighty Áhasêstse’ó Falls.
There he saw a beautiful maiden with midnight hair
And obsidian eyes, and he felt the stirring of fate.

Whispering Willow felt the magnet pull of Swift Wind’s eyes,
And when she shyly raised her own eyes
To meet those onyx orbs, she felt the stirrings of fate.
They spent all night at Áhasêstse’ó Falls
Sharing personal histories,
But never revealing their true identities,
Unaware that they belonged to opposing tribes.

As the sun rose, they pledged their eternal love,
Vowing never to part.
Swift Wind and Whispering Willow resolved
To meet again the next night in secret
And so they did for many nights,
Renewing their steadfast pledge,
Never knowing their time together was running short.

Both their fathers were lifelong foes
Fighting bitterly over land.
They resolved to meet for one final battle
To put an end to this most contentious debate.
Swift Wind led his tribe into the skirmish
With a mighty war cry that shook the boughs
And pierced Whispering Willow’s heart.

Whispering Willow ran to the highest hilltop,
Her heart in her mouth,
Her keen eyes searching, searching
Until they found an unbelievable sight:
Swift Wind unloosed an arrow that flew
On the whistling wind,
Diving straight into her father’s heart.

The mighty chief staggered once before he fell,
His daughter’s name on his lifeless lips,
And Swift Wind shouted joyously,
Unaware of what he’d done.
Whispering Willow unloosed a cry that flew
On the whistling wind,
Diving straight into her lover’s heart.

Swift Wind raised his eyes up to the highest hilltop,
His heart in his mouth,
His keen eyes searching, searching
Until they found an unbelievable sight:
Whispering Willow standing on that hilltop,
Her obsidian eyes awash
With both tears and betrayal.

One moment was all it took to extinguish a life,
To reveal the proof of Swift Wind’s actions,
To uncover the truth of their identities,
Both of them unaware until that moment
That their fathers were lifelong foes.
Swift Wind’s suddenly unfeeling hands
Dropped his bow and arrow.

This was Swift Wind’s second mistake,
Destined also to be his last.
Furious at their chief’s loss, the opposing tribe
Fell upon Swift Wind with sharp spears
Until the mighty warrior was overcome.
He staggered once before he fell,
His lover’s name on his lips.

So it was with firm steps that belied a jagged heart,
Whispering Willow ran across prairie and plain,
Swift as wind, until she reached Áhasêstse’ó Falls.
She carried her father’s memory in her heart,
She carried her lover’s name upon her lips.
Whispering Willow slipped off her moccasins
And stepped into water.

The End

1 comment about this poem Feed