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The Vision of a Giant who Migrated from Baja to Tiburon Island -- Anonymous

Guest poem sent in by Rohit Grover
(Poem #204) The Vision of a Giant who Migrated from Baja to Tiburon Island
Slender whirlwinds coming from the sky
        touch the land.
Sounds of arrows striking the ground
        roaring
        raising dust clouds.
He shouts, warning of the days of danger.
I stand on the peak of Red Mountain.
He comes toward me
        shouting.
My heart is a stone.
I shout, I declare it.
-- Anonymous
This is the song of a shaman of the Seri, an Native American tribe that
made its home at the edge of the desert and the sea in south-western
United States (where I am right now, in Tucson, Arizona).

I like the imagery of the first few lines, though the import of the last
few is a mystery to me.

About the Seri

The Seri believed that the world started as an ocean. Haant-Caai - the
creator - shaped land with the help of a Giant Turtle and placed a man,
woman and a horse on the earth - these were the Giants who died in the
great flood and became boojum tree, barrel cactii and other plants.

Haant-Caai tested the ability of the Giants by placing a man on a horse,
off which he promptly fell. When the man was placed on a balsa (Seri
boat), he rowed into the sea and harpooned a sea-turtle. The Seri
conclude from this that man was not meant to till the land and was meant
to live off the sea.

It is not known if they believe themselves descendents of the Giants,
however, they occupy an important place in their folklore.

Turtles play an important part in the folk culture. The following is the
Turtle Song as sung by on Robert Harrera:

  Turtle Song
  ------------

  The phosphorescence of the sea
  The phosphorescence passes over my body
  It is gray on me
  The sea covers me
  The turtles that accompany me
          they come slowly toward me

  (from Paths and Lives, an exhibit at the Arizona State Museum, University
  of Arizona, Tucson)

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