Larry Brody’s Poetry: “The Feather”

by Larry Brody

kidhollywoodcovercoyotecaptureNOTE FROM LB: 

Ah, more recollections of the wonders of Indian Country. The Lakota Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, where, accompanied by the Navajo Dog, I started my lessons on the meaning – or it it the magic – of life:

The Feather

It was after my vision quest, the three days in the pit,

When, full of the freshness of my new name,

And the animal power it held, I made my way

To the trailer where my friend the wild Indian lived.

(I sing of the Bear—the Bear sings of me.)

His arms went around me, and he offered me a

Beer and stew, for this was Pine Ridge,

And while the power was strong,

The pickings were slim.

(I sing to the Bear—the Bear sings to me.)

Later, after a sweat, my friend, who had

Already done so much toward showing me

the way, gave me a gift he had prepared.

It was a single eagle feather, wrapped in

Red thread, and blessed by the seven most

Sacred of medicine men. Not just Lakota,

They were all tribes, all kinds, and they had

Given him the feather as a sign. Now he wanted

to give it to me.

(I sing like the Bear—the Bear sings like me.)

When I touched the feather, my hand tingled

And burnt, and I was embarrassed, feeling

Unworthy. But the eagle had allowed its death, and its

Use, and the old medicine men had given their

Power. Who was I to deny? To say no? To

Refuse? I had to accept the honor.

I have kept the feather, and talked to it, and

Heard it. I have slept with it beneath my head,

And I’ve dreamed.

(I sing of the Bear, my spirit, my soul—the Bear

Has already sung its songs to me)

With the feather, I have made liars speak truly,

Vanquished old evil and new. With the feather,

I have made friends of enemies, and sent messages,

And healing, but never has it been easy to use.

It flies, you see, this eagle feather does. It refuses

To stay on the ground. It vanishes from where I put

It, and tries to escape, searching ceaselessly for

the Freedom it deserves.

(With the eagle’s feather, I become the Bear—

The Bear has already become me.)

I have lost the feather a dozen times, and found

It a dozen more. Every time, it speaks, in the

Eagle’s screech, and, more quietly, in the

Chant of the medicine men. I hear the feather

The way I hear my own heartbeat, and its message

Is ever the same.

Be the Bear, it tells me. Learn. Teach. Heal.

Be the Bear of your vision, or be nothing, be no

One. Be the Bear of the sky, and fly from this earth.

Fly beyond the Bear—sing of it—sing to it—

Sing like it, with the most melodious of roars.

Be the Bear as you saw it, and were it in the

Mountains, half-buried, half-starving, but more

Than twice new.

Be the Bear—

For the Bear has already—

How long? Try forever—

The Bear has already been you.


It was after my vision quest, the three days in the pit,

When, full of the freshness of my new name,

And the power it held, Talking Bear received

A single eagle feather, wrapped in red thread.

The thread is gone, spun off in mid-flight,

And the feather is torn, worn, and bare.

But still I hold on and sing of the

Bear, and listen as it sings of me,

And still my hand tingles as I learn,

Teach, and heal,

As I try to be worthy of the vision

And all those who need so much to believe.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, “As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’”

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.