The Butler Pennsylvania Poems

Buried Treasure

There was a freshness, a newness in the land
just beyond the edge of town,
a kind of sacredness that even we boys felt
playing there in its woods and fields,
kept virginal, it seemed, since creation
by Indians who once treaded there
on padded feet, leaving nothing other
than their burial ground, a mound or two,
or words like Connoquenessing, Oneida
and Chicora, with music in them,
or those arrowheads we found and cherished—
gentle reminders for us that what we stood on,
revered earth left unsoiled by them,
need be so kept as we had found it.

And was not that, come to think of it now,
the very respect the Indians lived by
and handed down to us,
our inheritance
to be understood, practiced, made part of us—
then passed on to our children
for theirs.

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