Yevshan, a song goes on singing

now take the sage — yevshan
now breathe it in
yevshan yevshan
you call from it a story
of your own people far away
an eastern light, far grasslands

yevshan yevshan yevshan

your silver leaves bend shining
slight arms embrace the wind
your sharp breath breaks the bonds of winter
roots endure and flourish

the ceaseless wind whose tale you sing
brought courage once to captives
so we, each with our histories
are braided to each other’s road
as we hear and sing

yevshan yevshan yevshan

against the constant small betrayals make me strong
let me never be the one whose hand betrays
let me run to you when i’m in need of freedom
let me always guard your freedom, so when i run to you

i will sing and you will lift me
on the wings of your wild song
you and i and the wind rejoicing

yevshan yevshan yevshan.


Another piece first published in Fifth World Drum,  Yevshan, only lightly edited here,  was written in the year 2000, when I sat in a circle that included some Indigenous writers like me, and some Ukrainian scholars, including two doctors first named Andrij; the elder Dr. Andrij sat beside me and we talked about the sage we passed between us.

Medicines know better than humans who they are for. In my experience, they care exponentially less about one’s bloodline than about one’s own willingness to engage in relationship with the living world.

It’s a difficult thing to articulate, and to put it on a stage? Well, we’ll see: come April 27th, the latest ripple of connection between Slavic and Indigenous rivers, a connection shared by many people here in this land, comes to the stage, with the premiere of Ancestors & Elders.

Meanwhile, I’m working on a recording of Yevshan. Standby. Today’s image, as if to underline the love we all share for open land, comes from Kareni, a Turkish photographer on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s