Sentinel Poetry (Online) #48, November 2006.  Frontpage l Contents




Armand Garnet Ruffo


*Stone Canoe


Behind the blink of a dream  

the shaman paints himself

into voyage

and travels

with the people

who have been padding all their lives

for centuries

back to the source

of religion



water Manitou, spirit guide

swims the under world

spiraling out of a whirlpool

Sign of medicine power

and presence

a prayer

for calm water


Loon shapes the canoe

in an elegant song

of loyalty

and beauty

head held high

to the distant horizon

vigilant for the people


Sturgeon supports

the fragile vessel

master of deep water


and sweet flesh

given in self-sacrifice




And the four aboard

Man, Woman, Child

Shaman (paddle or brush in hand)

painted in red ochre on stone

and bound together


innumerable times

by innumerable artists

so that the people might continue.



*taken from National Gallery of Canada publication, illustrated with paintings by Morrisseau.



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