A Love Song for his Children: Billy Joe Laboucan (y-dialect)

Billy Joe Laboucan and his four beautiful daughters: Maria Meequon Charity Laboucan Melina Laboucan-Massimo and the late Bella Laboucan; his two sons are missing from this photo.

Thanks to Chief Billy Joe for letting us share this poem (that really ought to be a love song). Maybe a tune will come to him some time soon. And thanks to Solomon Ratt for recording his reading of Billy Joe’s work. 

nikiskēyihtēn ēkā ēkota ē-kī-ayāyān,
nisākihitōwin ēkota kī-ayāw,
kaskēyihtamowin kapē-tipisk ayamihāwinihk
kīspin ē-itēyihtamān ēkota ta-ayāyān…
ē-kī-kiskēyihtamān ēkā cīki takī-ayāyān
māka nisākihitōwinihk cīki nitayān

ᓂᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᐁᑳ ᐁᑯᑕ ᐁ ᑮ ᐊᔮᔮᐣ,
ᑳ ᑮ ᒣᒁ ᐅᐦᐱᑮᔭᐣ᙮
ᓂᓵᑭᐦᐃᑑᐏᐣ ᐁᑯᑕ ᑮ ᐊᔮᐤ,
ᑳ ᑮ ᒣᒁ ᐅᐦᐱᑮᔮᐣ….
ᑲᐢᑫᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ ᑲᐯ ᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᐏᓂᕽ
ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐁ ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐁᑯᑕ ᑕ ᐊᔮᔮᐣ…
ᐁ ᑮ ᑭᐢᑫᐦᔨᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐁᑳ ᒌᑭ ᑕᑮ ᐊᔮᔮᐣ
ᒫᑲ ᓂᓵᑭᐦᐃᑑᐏᓂᕽ ᒌᑭ ᓂᑕᔮᐣ

I know I wasn’t there As you grew up.
My love was there,
As I grew up …
Lonely nights filled in prayer
Wishing I was there …
Knowing that I couldn’t be near,
Only in my love I’m everywhere

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, launched in 2010 with the goal of creating Cree language literacy materials suitable for use by learners of all ages.
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