Archive for December 6th, 2012


DSCN0579     Orenda

My Grandmother Wilber would tell us about the magic of Woodstock called Orenda.   I learned that it was a belief of the native Iroquois who lived in the Catskill Mts. of New York.   Orenda is believed to be a supernatural force, present in varying degrees, in all objects, animals and persons .  Early settlers of Woodstock soon called it “the magic of Woodstock”.  This attracted artists, writers, musicians and many other talented people who believed being or living in Woodstock would increase their artistic ability.   Thus Woodstock became the first official artist colony founded in America in 1906.

The inspiration for this poem happened to me as a child in Woodstock.  Photo taken in Stevensville, Montana 2010


Beneath the granite the old Indian chants.
His voice can be heard on the winds
Serenading the Catskills any day or night.

My Grandmother called the wind voices.

Alive in the whisper of trees dancing in the sunlight.
In the breath of an Iroquois breeze.

Is said to be the magic of the earth turning
In spite of man’s afflicted need
To break the light of atoms in war.

Of men
Unable to hear a green mind speak.

I lost my heart to Orenda the night I saw a deer,
Blinded by poachers’ lights, murdered for money.
Its spirit rose from the shape of it’s death

And spoke to me.

“Power is not what men think.”

If you decide to walk the Catskills
In the morning mist, you too may hear
The collected thoughts of Iroquois souls never deceived

By the blood of politics or the plagues of greed.

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