Saturday, 31 May 2014


My final poem in the book that was in part the catalyst for Glen and Sherry Flett contacting me is, Up From the Ashes. When I wrote that poem in my book, Dance With Your Healing: Tears Let Me Begin to Speak, I was open to more of healing, not only for myself, but for my students, retreat, and workshop paricipants as well. During my CBC Information Morning Interview this week, as Don Connolly asked his powerful questions, contoured in respect, kindness, and authentic want to understand how I could meet the man who murdered my Dad, I could feel Phoenix. I could hear Thunder Bird. When Glen and I first met, I learned that Thunder Bird was the symbol he has lived with to represent Theodore. When he gifted me with a stunning silver Thunder Bird ring to put on my Dad's grave, he and I and Theodore were indeed up from the ashes. This is Sawbonna. Up from the ashes. Up from the ashes over and over and over again, as we come to re-language justice, as we choose to re-story our lives.

Hand fashioning my own spirit
Is coupled with letting go of his.
The dance is held fast,
By the two bullets that
Found themselves holding the blood
That poured from his flesh,
And struggles to break into mad movement.
Young man. Father. Drowning into the other space
Into which we could not follow.

So language began to bleed forth.
Began to be necessary.
Travel, changing air and space,
Country and place,
Driving in old buses in strange lands,
Hearing the tone of new tongues.
Attempting to demand succor,
Forgiveness, strength, daily.

But now I know that new life if
Growing up from the ashes,
Into the sky.
Another view,
Bluer than blue
Begins to be known.
Language begins to dance

To reel, to ripple, to fly.
Forgiveness begins to grow upon
The pages that wear my words,
As newness glistens.
Healing grows.

Copyright Margot Van Sluytman
Palabras Press, 2006

CBC Nova Scotia: Sawbonna and Poetry and Restorative Justice

Master's Thesis: "Sawbonna: Justice as Lived Experience"

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