Mika Lafond: Homebound

maskêko-sâkahikan
poem: Mika Lafond 
Cree translation: Gladys Wapass-Greyeyes
ê-ati kîwêyânhomebound
êpasakwâpîyan wâyaw pêci nâway niwâhpahtên kîkway kâpê kîwêtotamân niwîhkôtên nitaskîy nitaskîy mihcêt miciminam mamaskahc kîkwaya nipê asê kiwênikon itê ênistawêyitamân pêyatikwêyimôwin nitakâkêyitên oski miskamowinaclosing my eyes I see a far off past. what brings me back home, the connection to my land. my land holds many wonders, I fall back on these comforts where familiarity brings me peace of mind and I delight in youthful discoveries:
asinîs êwâsapiskisothow the sparkle of rock
nimêskwâpimâw mina nimamitonêyitamcaught my eye and I imagined
yiyiko êwîyôta nitaskîythe riches of my land
yitâmihkburied deep
ayîkihsak pêhtâkosiwakwhen the melody of frogs
niwîhtamâkon ê-mîyoskamiktold me that spring had come,
tâkâpan its crisp morning air
kâmîyo-tâkosicik piyêsîsakthe harmony of birds
kâkwâmwahci tipiskâkwhere the silence of night
nimîyikon pêyâhtik takana-wahpahtamângave me time for contemplation
tânitawâpênamân nipawâtamôwinato investigate my dreams
mêscâkanis wanêwo-tam kâkwâmwâtaniyikthe simplicity broken only by coyote’s howl
kâpasoyân kimôwanwhen the smell of rain
nikiskisohikon nîpinreminded me of summer freshness
mwêstas kâ-misi kitocikafter the loud claps of thunder
ê-pakamih-cîcêtotâkikapplauded the passing storm.
kâ-ati mâyi kîsikâyik
nisâsâkîtin ê-ati mîyaskamân kîkway kâ-miskamân kîsiwâw nikâwiy askiy okaskitêw-asîskiy miciminam nitôcêpihkoma nitaskîy miciminam nitehi nipê miskâson kîhtwâm kayâs âcimowini sâkihitôwinihk mina kâpâhpi nimiskên ita ê-ohciyan kâpê âhkamêyimocik ê-kiskinota-mawicik sakihitowin manâcisowin mina kisêwâcisiwin miskikâtêw nanaskomôwini mina atoskêwinicontinuing past these findings I walk along barefoot, feel the warmth of mother earth, her soft black dirt that holds my roots. my land holds my heart. I come back again to find myself in old stories of love and laughter. I find my connection to family, their efforts to teach me that love, respect and kindness are founded in thankfulness and hard work.
nôhkom kipimohtâtam oma asiskîy nôhkom walked this same soil
ê-asamât ôpâhpahâkwânimafeeding her chickens
nikiskinohamâk tanisisi pimacisowin êyispayikteaching me about the cycle of life
mêkwahc ê-wâsakâskâkot ositias they clucked around her feet.
nimôsom kî-pîkopitam askîynimôsom turned the packed earth
mitâtahtomtanaw askîya aspinone hundred years ago
mina tâyiwêpîhtât otayimihowinaand the breadth of his struggles
kêyapich nokwaniyow kistikanihkcan still be seen in the dancing fields.
ênitawi kiskisîyan êkoni kîsikâwa aspin wîyêreminiscing on days gone by
kâwi nimiyomâhcihonI feel the joys again
ninikîhikwak nipihkôtamâkwâkmy parents brought me.
mîwêyimowin okayaw-siyiniwa ôchienjoyment of the fruits of their labor.
nohtâwiy kistikêw okistikânimy father sowing his crop:
pêyakoskanâw wâpakwanîyaa row of lilies and roses
kistikêw oskâtaskwa napatâkwa mina mâhtâminaa garden of carrots, potatoes and corn
misi kistikêw pahkwêsikanî kanaa vast field of wheat.
nikâwiy ayoskanamy mother’s luscious raspberries
cîki êkôtajust a few steps away
ayoskanâpoywhere the tangy red juices
atihtêwa nîpihta mina nitônstained my lips and teeth.
nipê wâyinîn ita ê-ohciyân tawâhpahtamân pêyakwâw mina tapêyatikwêyimowin âsici acâhkosakI come back to find solace in my history, to see the depth of the sky once more, to fall away to peacefulness with the stars.
nipêtên nitaskiy nikamôwinI hear the song of my land,
nikana-wapamawâk nicâpan-panakwatch my ancestors 
nimîhitowak akwanâna oskaskosi mina nîpâmayatan âkosiyiwaas they dance in shawls of purple and green
kiwêtinohk ôcisimôwakacross the northern sky
nipê kîwân I come home again
nikiskisomisonto remind myself
niwîcêkon nitâskîymy land is with me.