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