Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 is one of the most widely recognized love poems on the planet. The strictly structured poetry that we think of as “classical” in English doesn’t need to be preserved to make it beautiful in Cree. Thanks to Solomon Ratt for providing us with this interpretation grounded in a Cree view of the natural world.
tânisi kâ-isi-sâkihitân? mahti nika-akihtên.
kisâkihitin isko nitahtahk kâ-ohpipayit ta-nakiskawât pîsimwa mîna tipiskâwipîsimwa;
kisâkihitin tâpiskôc wâpikwaniy kâ-nitawêyihtahk ta-minihkwît kimiwan;
kisâkihitin tâpiskôc yôtin kâ-wêpâstahahk kiscikânisa ka-ohpikihki.
How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love you as far as my soul can jump to meet the sun and the moon;
I love you like the flower needs to drink the rain;
I love you like the wind that blows the seeds to grow.