A middle-aged woman from Toronto, looking for some bright spot in her life, remembers that she is part Cree Indian in heritage. She embarks on a journey north and west into the wilderness areas. These are poems about her and her quest.
As she travels, she herself writes poems from her imagination about her native ancestors. She knows this is fantasy, but it helps her feel better.
Even the Sun Goes West, a poem from the book.
(Migration of the Cree from the deep woods of northern Ontario to the open plains)
Late winter in Our Forest, long cold
No rabbits, no fish, no moose;
Wendigos walking the sprucewoods.
It put Loonlaugh, the shaman, into the
Shaking tipi two days, desperate for
He came out alive, said we would go
To the land of no trees, then vomited
Under a thin birch. No-one laughed this time.
Brightsun swore at him, saying the
Great North Wind had taken him, and
Filled him with lies. “On the prairie
The North Wind will eat us each winter, and
The Nez Perce will walk on our bones.
And who can catch a buffalo?
I think we should get a new shaman.”
My mother, She-Who-Feeds-Birds, looked
Around at the other women in despair.
But I walked to a rock,
Peeled off some lichens, and
Went to the men. I chewed the lichens
In front of them.
“My daughter is hungry,” mother said.
The men started to protest, but
All the women turned to face the west
Staying there all night
Watching the stars climb down to the land of winds.