The Never Ending Trail
Excerpt from the on line book
"Of Native American"
By: Del "Abe" Jones
The whites honor the "Hermitage"
And the man who once lived there
But, that leader of our Nation
Was cruel, unjust, unfair
He ordered the removal
Of the Cherokee from their land
And forced them on a trek
That the Devil must have planned
One thousand miles of misery
Of pain and suffering
Because greed of the white man
Could not even wait till spring
We should bow our heads in shame
Even unto this day
About "The Trail Of Tears"
And those who died along the way.
It was October, eighteen thirtyeight
When seven thousand troops in blue
Began the story of the "Trail"
Which, so sadly, is so true
Jackson ordered General Scott
To rout the Indian from their home
The "Center Of The World" they loved
The only one they'd known
The Braves working in the fields
Arrested, placed in a stockade
Women and children dragged from home
In the bluecoats shameful raid
Some were prodded with bayonets
When, they were deemed to move too slow
To where the Sky was their blanket
And the cold Earth, their pillow
In one home a Babe had died
Sometime in the night before
And women mourning, planning burial
Were cruelly herded out the door
In another, a frail Mother
Papoose on back and two in tow
Was told she must leave her home
Was told that she must go
She uttered a quiet prayer
Told the old family dog goodbye
Then, her broken heart gave out
And she sank slowly down to die
Chief Junaluska witnessed this
Tears streaming down his face
Said if he could have known this
It would have never taken place
For, at the battle of Horse Shoe
With five hundred Warriors, his best
Helped Andrew Jackson win that battle
And lay thirtythree Braves to rest
And the Chief drove his tomahawk
Through a Creek Warrior's head
Who was about to kill Jackson
But whose life was saved, instead
Chief John Ross knew this story
And once sent Junaluska to plead
Thinking Jackson would listen to
This Chief who did that deed
But, Jackson was cold, indifferent
To the one he owed his life to Said,
"The Cherokee's fate is sealed
There's nothing, I can do."
Washington, D.C. had decreed
They must be moved Westward
And all their pleas and protests
To this day still go unheard.
On November, the seventeenth
Old Man Winter reared his head
And freezing cold, sleet and snow
Littered that trail with the dead
On one night, at least twentytwo
Were released from their torment
To join that Great Spirit in the Sky
Where all good souls are sent
Many humane, heroic stories
Were written 'long the way
A monument, for one of them
Still stands until this day
It seems one noble woman
It was Chief Ross' wife
Gave her blanket to a sick child
And in so doing, gave her life
She is buried in an unmarked grave
Dug shallow near the "Trail"
Just one more tragic ending
In this tragic, shameful tale
Mother Nature showed no mercy
Till they reached the end of the line
When that fateful journey ended
On March twentysixth, eighteen thirtynine.
Each mile of this infamous "Trail"
Marks the graves of four who died
Four thousand poor souls in all
Marks the shame we try to hide
You still can hear them crying
Along "The Trail Of Tears"
If you listen with your heart
And not with just your ears.
The preceding was partly inspired by a story told to children by John Burnett on the occasion of his eightieth birthday in 1890. It was printed in a book titled "Cherokee Legends And The Trail Of Tears", adapted by Thomas Bryan Underwood.
My main inspiration, though is the shame and disgust I feel as I learn more about the atrocities perpetrated by our forefathers and the injustices which still occur to the true Native Americans.
John Burnett was a Private in an infantry company which took part in the Cherokee Removal of 1838-1839. Near the end of his story he says, in part, "Future generations will read and condemn the act....".
In closing he says, "However, murder is murder whether committed by the villain skulking in the dark or by uniformed men stepping to the strains of martial music. Murder is murder and somebody must answer, somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country in the summer of 1838. Somebody must explain the four thousand silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile. I wish I could forget it all, but the picture of six hundred and fortyfive wagons lumbering over the frozen ground with their Cargo of suffering humanity still lingers in my memory.
Let the historian of a future day tell the sad story with its' sighs, its' tears and dying groans. Let the great Judge of all the earth weigh our actions and reward us according to our work." If only it worked that way!
“Mankind's greatest accomplishment
is not the revolution of technology,
it is the evolution of creativity.”
© 1984 Del “Abe” Jones
More poetry here http://iwvpa.net/jonesd/index.php
and here http://www.scribd.com/documents
You can read my latest book, "Of Native American" here http://www.bookrix.com/showbooks.html?showbookonly=del.abe.jones_1265223173.3449680805&mrsph=book