A torrential downpour and thunder raged,
The huge Black Bear broad shoulders striking the iron cage.
Her journey through time had not known such a fear,
Her flight through the woods, steel trap, and her cub’s tears.
She had caught their scent staggering through the trees,
But her cub lay helpless she could not leave.
The biggest of the white men threw a net over her head,
A sound likened to thunder and her cub lay dead.
A bellow of rage as she clawed in the entanglement,
But of no use, as they caged her beside a small tent.
Trapped in an iron cell, how could this be?
Her little cub dead, and she was no longer free.
Night’s shadows overcast the hunter’s moon and the world was sad,
It wept tears upon the mother earth a vengeance on all that was bad.
Alone he stood upon the cliffs the rain a soothing balm,
Anger raged within though Bequia begged him remain calm.
But how could he when the fires wrath had taken his life,
Now gone was his home, his heart his soul, his wife.
The warriors sought peace a meeting between the tribes,
Hunters searching for fresh game, their return no one left alive.
Fire ravaged the village and severed bodies littered the ground,
A pyre must be built spirits set free and their leader must be found.
Thundering hooves ashes scattered and a tall warrior appeared
He was strong, he was warrior he was Benauwea; he was feared.
But he could not release this rage he held he just could not let go,
Days and days passed him by his hatred continued to grow.
He was a renegade set apart from the warring tribes,
He hunted, he fished, and only that year had taken a bride.
Once he had been part of the Apaches though only a half-breed,
Son of a mighty chief and a son born to lead.
He was tall and lean raven hair waist length long,
He fought with the warriors, trained with the hunters and he had become strong.
Swift, he was sometimes racing eagles in their noonday flight,
Keeping pace always keeping them close in his sights.
None was as skilled as Benauwea even though his blood was not pure,
They accepted him, respected him, their confidence in him assured.
And the chief could have been no more proud of his son,
For centuries he had known that Benauwea was the one.
It had been foretold by Shawana the Ancient that it was to be,
This son of his white captive would be the one to set them free.
The mother bear continued her pace as the storms of a sudden seized
But the smell of death left behind to flow upon the quieted breeze.
Her claws were ripped and blood from the torn flesh from her shoulder,
But the cage, the strength how well it could hold her.
There was no escape she was tired and so very scared,
Nothing she had seen or done could even compare.
Oh, and her little cub just now learning to survive,
She had failed in her teachings for he was no longer alive.
The white men were coming back she could smell their scent,
But wait, another smell, familiar smell from the rear of the tent.
Her cub her precious cub they carried as they walked by,
One held a hatchet, one held her cub, and one held a knife.
A bellowing rage mama bear shook her cage and she hated,
Shivers from the hunters as their bravery faded.
They stood staring at the fury that took over the beast,
And they knew the sight of her cub her temper unleashed.
“Dag nabbit, John I knew we should have skinned the little un back there,
She’d never known we was a eatin her little ole bear.”
But arguing as they were they never noticed her escape,
No, not until it was much too late.
Like a whirlwind in the deserts storm, her temper had full reign,
And Todd was the first to feel the steely pain.
Gone was his arm with one mighty blow,
And he screamed in terror at the quickness of his bloods flow.
James dropped the cub and raced for his gun at the tent's entrance,
“Help me, help me, please… but Todd never finished his sentence.
James reached the gun as John was thrown into the air smacking hard into an oak,
Picking up her cub, ah the pain she felt blood and the shots smoke.
But no she could not stop no matter the pain so severe,
Safety yes she must find safety far away from here.
Quickly she lost blood so very weak but yet she continued on,
And in the distance Benauwea one with the eagles was touched by a hearts song.
Upon the trail, he rode a trail endless as time,
Mourning his village and the dead left behind.
Once before he rode upon this same dusty trail,
Escaping those haunting visions of hell.
Only sixteen summers he had seen when first the white man came,
Such blood as his mother fell so weak she screamed his name.
Swiftly he whirled his attacker merely inches away
And with the speed of an eagle no longer the prey.
He fought thinking it was a good day to die,
And as he struck with his hatchet a fierce battle cry.
The white man's head lay closely at Benauweas feet,
But was much too late his people had been beat.
But still, Benauwea fought as his warriors continued to fall,
Five it took to capture him but he wouldn’t let it be an end to it all.
Like animals herded together hands tied each as one,
Benauwea looked to the heavens and a hundred eagles carried the sky
And the eagles converged swooping down upon their prey,
Wings flapping furiously keeping the white men at bay,
A lone eagle sat upon Benauweas shoulder now two leaders combined,
The heart of an eagle, soul of a warrior, destinies entwined.
The white men fell to their knees trying to protect eyes and head,
Buzzards floated in the heavens smelling their feast of the dead.
For indeed nothing was left but death and in this, they pleaded,
Unseen visions for eyes had disappeared but their words were not heeded.
The warriors escaped their bonds and watched the justice unfold,
Sun disappeared shadows replaced, and the earth grew cold.
The heavens darkened, and mother earth mourned the devastation,
She cried tears for Benauwea and the warriors watched in fascination.
Benauwea stood fists clenched the eagles gathered by his side,
And the buzzards landed; unmoving now but for their cry.
Legs apart he stretched his arms towards the heavens the buzzards cry from his lips,
He turned towards his warriors and the eagle landed upon his fingertips.
Lightning raced across the sky and thunder echoed the hills,
And the winds raged. Then the earth quieted all was still.
Benauwea one with the Eagles, one with nature, one with mother earth,
At sixteen summers Benauwea, the chosen would now prove his worth.
Reborn in spirit, reborn in strength, his tale to be told,
No slave he, for no chains nor ropes, nor cells could hold.
He did not look back at the carnage wrought nor to see if his warriors came,
For he knew they would follow they had work to do to play the white man’s game.
While the other tribes warred with each other Benauwea warred with the whites,
And one of their white women captives had become his wife.
Was a valley far away unknown but for a few, they found their new home,
White captives, creeks, and meadows where the buffalo roamed.
A council was held between the warring tribes and to this, he went,
If only to convince them war with the whites was meant.
Why fight amongst their selves when the white man deserved their wrath,
All was well as he started his journey home and an eagle stayed his path.
The eagle spoke warned him of troubles on his return,
He raced Thunder his stallion and smelled smoke as his village burned.
He was twenty summers now and leader of his band of renegades,
And they had been blessed until today.
A-ye-a, a-ye-a he cried his voice an echo amongst the hills,
And the two white men hiding felt deaths coldest chills.
Both had been injured in the raid and were left to face Benauweas wrath,
They crawled to their hiding place not wishing to cross his path.
Too late though for the eagle had told their tale,
The weeds parted as they looked upon him was a vision from hell.
And they begged for mercy, they pleaded, and they cried,
The tomahawk swung, their heads severed from their bodies, and they died.
And now once again the same trail as before justice would come,
For now, there were more and their battle had just begun.
Sleep Benauwea rest your tired soul and weary eyes,
And the eagle guarded him till the sun began to rise.
He could feel her pain he could smell her fear,
And he knew that she was near.
It hurt, this ache he felt, she was in such pain,
He sighed deeply, and the heavens poured their rain.
She bellowed mournfully a cry from her soul,
But no, she couldn’t give up till she attained her goal.
Blood let a steady flow down her massive thigh,
And all the time at travel she wondered why? Yes why?
Only a mother protecting her child just as the white men do,
Couldn’t they see she loved her baby too?
And now she would be hunted down as one so deadly,
For two remained, and as the dizziness hit she tried to remain steady.
But she could not. As she fell to the ground she cuddled her little one,
She had failed. Failed with her cub failed her desperate flight the white men had won.
They had invaded the land of the buffalo, invaded the hunting grounds,
The hunter became the hunted and they were all around.
She cannot die here. The mountains, yes, the mountains she would take her cub home,
He must be put too peaceful rest ere his soul would forever roam.
But she could not get up her weary body could not rise,
And as the eagle swooped down and another and another she gently closed her eyes.
She lay so quite so still, and he hurt he could feel her pain,
And he cried. Tears bringing from heaven teardrops of rain.
He knelt beside her rubbing his hands over her thick hide,
Nature's spirits lending their strength as guide.
And her blood still flowed though it had eased
Little trickles adding to the dried blood not wishing to seize.
The eagles watched eyes constantly searching for any threat,
The sky still cried, Benauwea mourned, and the white men would regret.
She had made it. Her cub now rested in a cave amongst the forest
Safe from harm, deaths peaceful sleep
How quickly her health restored from Beauweas healing hands,
And the fresh mountain air instead of the valleys hot sands.
She loved the mountains abundant nuts and berries she rambled on,
Exercising her mending body thanking Benauwea that she was home.
She could not live in the white man’s cage for there would be no peace
No mountain trout in the streams no berries on which to feast.
But soon it would change the white man would come again,
And so many, again and again, and again, till there would be no end.
Benauwea calls and now she must make up her mind,
He begs her please stay, but no she will stand by his side.
He gave her back her life; he gave her his breath,
His healing hands had pulled her away from death.
It was the white man’s cage she feared the most,
And she would not forget the pain from the loud sticks that smoke.
Her body shook as the memories locked her in the cage,
And all she could do was bellow in a helpless rage.
The hurt was still there the memory of the loud noise, the smoke and
So many emotions at once had attacked as her bloodstained.
But Beanauwea no her fears must be cast away.
She could not undo fate, no here she could not stay.
On her haunches, she rested looking over the hillside then towards the
And she walked away having told her beloved mountains goodbye.
© Cynthia Clark