Reconciliation Elegy

For the Narragansett People and the People of Montague

May 19, 2004
by Patricia Pruitt

Today we gather at the river
Our place in the living NOW
Rolling minute into hour
Hour into centuries. Our home
is made of history.
Today around the fire
Narragansetts and Montagueans gather
On the bank of the shining river
Along its green and fragile edge.
Its surface sometimes calm and blue.
A second sky for us to view, or a
Momentary grove of trees
Rippling in a water breeze.
Some say they swirl in dawn’s early fog
Forms still fishing in the river.
Some say they see at sunset a red stain
On the water, on rocks banking the river.
In our mind’s eye, Pocumtucks, Captain Turner
And his men live on
Through three hundred, twenty eight years of days.
(Memory thwarts death in this small way)
And memory brings us to this day.
Captain Turner and his men
In full heat for self-protection
Slew Pocumtucks young and old
And in turn were slain.
Narragansetts speak their part
We speak ours. Both from this vantage
Know a flow of blood is not
The river to the future.
The earth sustains us one and all
And life is sweet, but short.
We are searching for the word
Lost in the swirling tumbling Falls.
We are searching for the gestures
To heal and reconcile us all.
Part prayer, part longing for grief
To cease. Part recognition of our shared
Estate. The word repeated paves the way
Til word become road
And we go in peace.