with thanks to Denise Krebs for encouraging “multiple languaged” poems for today’s Ethical ELA Open Write and NCpedia for shedding a little more light on name origins…
In the Place of the Sweet Trees
Long ago, the first People knew the river.
They named it for the trees growing there
where spice-bark and great white flowers
perfume the air.
In this place of the sweet trees
along the riverbank
a vine began to grow.
It bore fruit in the shape
of the Earth itself
as yet unknown.
pearls of the vine
that the People named
for the blackwater river
in the place of the askupo,
those heavy, fragrant trees
rooted in swampy soil.
The People, standing in the cool shadows
of the sweet trees by the river,
tasted the askuponong,