Grandfather's Warclub


Ron Welburn

A crude piece of polished wood,
seasoned and too short to be a cane,
lives with my mother,
having outlasted my father,
and her father its giver.
One does not hold it
by its head, a smooth knee bone;
its handle, nearly two feet long,
is to brandish
the curious long-headed knob
harder than a stone.
It is grandfather's warclub,
mother's father's father
patterned upon legacy
the Mohawks leaned on the Piscataway.
Its name is Conoy, and I have
never seen it in flight,
though I'm sure grandfather remembered it,
1927 or thereabouts,
when Berwyn jailed him
to segregate its schools.

© 1990 Ron Welburn. From Council Decisions, Native American Chapbook Series, American Native Press Archives, University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
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