She stands alone, against a stark horizon
long skirts blowing in the whipping winds
smoke curling from the frame of what was once a house.
Inside lay the lifeless bodies of those she loved,
had loved...strange to think of them in this sense,
as people in her past, now gone.
Weeks ago the red men began to notice them,
first to watch, then - courage growing -
to steal a dress off her wash line, next, a horse or two.
The horses were their life blood, so they’d fought back.
Her husband shot the last one they caught thieving,
and ten red men had come back...
Walking off into the horizon, not knowing why, or where,
no water, or supplies to sustain her on her trek.
Wandering finally into a village of red men and women,
hooting, hollering, touching her to see if she was a ghost.
Finally, one woman takes her hand and gives her a task
busies her hands, not her mind...but it’s what she needs.
She stays with the red people, not caring where she is,
what she looks like, how hard she works.
Some of them jibe at her, but who cares, so they give up.
They call her the stoic woman, and she is accepted -
a part of their lives, a member of their tribe,
and this suits her as she is not really alive, just in limbo.
The old crone that gathers herbs leads her off one morning,
they take only what they need, and Stoic Woman learns
about the medicinal value of all they gather.
The old crone is like a mother, she feels at peace,
safe with the wizened old woman,
their lives intertwine and they come to depend on one another.
The old woman sought Stoic Woman out
because she knew it would soon be her time to walk alone.
Her passing awakens great grief in one who never really grieved.
Long nights of wailing, wandering, unconsolable rage...then quiet peace.
Stoic woman takes her place in the village, doctor to the same red people
who once slew her family in a quarrel over horses.
Now Stoic Woman is a legend in the land, for white and red alike,
and many come to see the once white woman
who took up with the red people, accepting their ways.
They don’t realize who she once was, what she lost,
they only see that she is old and bent, white hair flowing
gracefully around her proud head, and they sense that she is indeed ...stoic.
[This message has been edited by Jana Tovey (edited 06-04-2000).]