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September 2019

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Poet Laureate Woman of Letters, Alisha Rodrigues, is a charter member of Natica Angilly's Poetic Dance Theater Company and Vice President of Artists Embassy International (AEI). She is a poet, scenic collage artist, dancer, editor, the PR person, and business manager for The Poetic Dance Theater Company. Alisha is also a costumer and choreographer.

As a poet/author, she has 8 books of poetry plus "Fire of the Dance", a book about Middle Eastern dance history on the West Coast, "Family Cooking A Heritage From the Past --- A Legacy for the Future", a book of favorite family recipes, and her version of the Chinese myth, "The Lady White Snake", commissioned for The Poetic Dance Theater Company by poet, Dr. Kenneth Kuanling Fan of Shanghai/Taipei.

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She hunkers down on a large boulder
overlooking the tumbling waters of the river.
The water rushes over the rocks
making a refreshing and joyful sound.
She is in brown buckskin,
her hair black as obsidian hangs around her shoulders.
She contemplates her soon to be marriage to the son of the Chief,
A happy smile crosses her face.

She dreams about the future and her handsome warrior.
She sits for a long while – the sound of the water singing in her ears.
Slowly she stands and gives a gentle sigh,
and with a longing look at the water, returns to her village.
On the ‘morrow she will leave her childhood behind…
Become a woman, sew rawhide, gather wood
cook over an open fire, watch her children grow.

She sees the reality of her life.
A wistful smile crosses her face
as she takes her place among the women,
picks up a needle of bone threaded with rawhide…
puts the last stitch in her white buckskin wedding dress.

Another sigh escapes her lips,
as she remembers the joyous, singing waters of the river.

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Lady in blue dances in stillness
While Buffalo Dancer moves in a circle,
His feet keeping rhythm with the drum.

Enter the mother and daughter
The hold feather fans
Bells jingle on their dresses

The dancer in green is high energy
He turns, spins, jumps in a circle
Thrills the audience with his daring.

Feet move in a clockwise circle
Stomping out praises to Mother Earth
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Birth – Life – Death

In a circle they hold hands
Dancing – Dancing
One with the Spirit

Dancing the Circle of Life.

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She was called “Maggie” by the tourists, her tribal name was Ta bu ce.
She was a Piaute, lived as an Ahwaneeche within the Ahwanee.
It means “deep grassy valley” – The white mans call it Yosemite.

She gathered grasses and reeds to weave into
baskets of beauty and light
She sat under the tall cedar and oak trees as she worked,
spoke with friends of the old ways now gone.

With sad voices they talked of the young ones
who leave the valley to live in big cities,
The young who scoff at the weaving of baskets.

Ta bu ce got pneumonia one cold November day.
She left the beautiful Yosemite that winter to meet her ancestors.

A new generation walks with pride once again
on the land of the great Ahawanee,
educating people in the ways of the “old ones”.

They speak of Ta bu ce with reverence…
weave baskets once again

Ta bu ce’s baskets are in the museum for all to see,
displayed o shelves behind shiny glass.
Baskets woven by talented fingers to
serve the tribe, to sell to tourist.
Baskets that tell a history of the people
Baskets…Baskets of beauty and light.

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Raven, the creator
soars the sky,
turns white snow into
meadows and lakes.
Now the soil is warm and green
Raven fills the earth with creatures
to fly in the sky
to walk the land and swim in the waters.
All is serene and beautiful.
Then Raven creates man.

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She walks tall…
Black hair shining in the sunlight.
She carries her sleeping child on her back…
This “Daughter of the Earth”.

She gathers herbs for the healing of her tribe.
Her buckskin shod feet walk silently
across the grassy plains.

A startled rabbit scampers away as she
bends to pluck sage leaves.

She has many herbs in her basket.
Herbs that when dried, will be burned to
cleanse the air and purify the soul.

She sings to herself as she works
The sun is bright – The day warm
It is a good day to gather herbs.

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Eagle soars high
A spirit on the wind.
Wings catch a thermal
Swoops eagle up into the blue.
Eagle floats lazily on the breeze
Circling, circling
His wings writing
a prayer in the sky.

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