A Sioux Prayer


Grandfather Great Spirit
All over the world the faces of living ones
     are alike.
With tenderness they have come up out
     of the ground.
Look upon your children that they may
face the winds and walk the good road to
     the Day of Quiet.
Grandfather Great Spirit
Fill us with the Light.
Give us the strength to understand,
and the eyes to see.
Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives
     to all that live.

One Response to “A Sioux Prayer”

  1. John Cochrane Says:

    Thank you April for the Sioux Prayer and for keeping the message before us

    The wisdom of the Sioux expressed in the Sioux Prayer still survives in the tumult and turmoil of today’s America.

    It might be more correct to say i barely survives.

    Yet as long as it barely survives the flicker mayyet turn into a flame and the flame into a fire and maybe the great grandchildren of our great grandchildren will inherit a planet where these teachings enlighten and enable all to walk the soft earth as relatives to all that live.

    Poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s two poems below that reflect our times:

    Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye

    Naomi Shihab Nye | September 16, 2008

    Editor: John Feffer

    Foreign Policy In Focus http://www.fpif.org

    My father
    who was always my father
    not always my father

    not always
    once a confident schoolboy
    strolling slow Jerusalem streets

    He knew the alleyways
    spoke to stones
    All his life he would pick up stones
    pocket them
    line them in his sunny Texas windowsill
    On some he drew

    What do we say in the wake of one
    who was always homesick?
    Are you home now?
    Is Palestine peaceful in some dimension
    we can’t see?
    Do Jews and Arabs share the table?
    Is holy in the middle?

    The News
    How I miss my dad when Karen Hughes or Condoleeza Rice
    come on the screen – his favorites – the great experts on foreign
    policy – he mocked their platitudes. I miss his sorrowful gaze
    to the side at commercials, especially after scenes of places he knew,
    terraced orchards, stone villages, and knew the world didn’t want to know.

    His letters keep unscrolling in my mind.
    Dear Militant, I know you were more likely
    a heartbroken boy who lost a brother or father
    and struggled all your poor life to get a grip,
    but they called you a militant
    the minute they killed you
    so they could get away with it.
    Just want you to know – I know –
    and I’m sorry for your suffering.

    Dear Soldier with a Tank and Many Guns,
    You look more like a militant to me – actually.
    They say you’re working for security when
    you terrify women and wreck houses
    and treat my people so rudely –
    you like to feel secure while doing it.
    Just want you to know – I know –
    And from the side of things I’m on right now –
    the disembodied side, the bigger picture side,
    it looks stranger
    than ever.


    Naomi Shihab Nye is a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus and the author of more than 20 volumes of poetry, including You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, as well as 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East; Fuel (1998), Red Suitcase (1994), and Hugging the Jukebox (1982).

    Subscribe to
    World Beat
    FPIF’s weekly ezine

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