The Final Cost ~ roundabout

The Final Cost

A river course that bears the name
of those who once lived here
bears likeness, none,
to anyone
of those who once lived here.

For tribes long gone will not appear.
Their time here was undone.
So, double-crossed,
the Osage lost.
Their time here was undone.

To take their land a tale was spun,
their home the final cost.
The white man’s claim
a nation’s shame,
their home the final cost.

This stream they once looked across
will never be the same.
The land held dear
in yesteryear
will never be the same.

On Thursday, I went hiking at Painted Rock Conservation Area, known for its view of the Osage River from towering bluffs, and for petroglyphs on those rock walls. (Shown here in filtered images to compensate for erosion, the petroglyphs are only seen from the river when the trees are bare.) The Osage River is named for the Osage, the Native American tribe dominant in Missouri when the land was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. In 1825, the Osage were removed from Missouri to Kansas, and later to Oklahoma where they fared better than other tribes. Many times, I’ve imagined the spirit of the Osage sitting beneath this rock ledge, surveying the land that once was theirs.

A short video from The Smithsonian briefly discusses how the Osage lost the land that once was theirs, while one from the St. Louis Art Museum focuses on their legacy in the 20th century and forward.

I returned home from hiking to see the prompt from Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, MTB: In a Roundabout Way, where we are asked to write a Roundabout. This is my response.

The Roundabout is a recent form, attributed to David Edwards

• four quintains (five-line stanzas) for a total of twenty lines
• iambic meter throughout
• lines have 4;3;2;2;3 feet, respectively
• line 5 repeats line 2
• rhyme scheme is aBccB bCddC cDaaD dAbbA

22 thoughts on “The Final Cost ~ roundabout

  1. Very well written, Ken. We have a very sad history of entitlement in the US. We seem to be no better than those in the rest of the world that we like to vilify! You have written a beautiful tribute to the Osage Tribe.


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