The following is a sestina for grandmother April Pamela Moore (December 21, 1947-September 5, 2015), written at Sierra College in English 20 by Brooklyn Shinabargar (Nisenan/Washoe) with professor Barbara Nelson-Burns during Fall 2016.
You are the woman people admire,
The energy flows through your dance.
Shells and beads twinkle with you,
The ground trembles from your strength,
Still wind makes the moment last.
Proud to be yours, proud of your pride.
You bring all of your people pride,
Your beauty can be seen by all to admire.
A truly indigenous woman, may be the last,
A reason for the rest of us to dance.
Even now you are my rock, my strength,
Even now all I learned, I learned from you.
A concrete bed, forever displays you,
Within a very small garden of pride.
Only a moment is needed to feel the strength,
Strength from you which we all admire.
I remember our laughs, our love, our dance,
All I could wish for is to make it last.
You left three children plus their own to last,
And the man who dearly loves you.
Five young woman that learned your dance,
We dance for you and our ancestor’s pride.
Many view the learn, listen, and admire,
But they’ll never know you gave us our strength.
Sometimes it feels like I lost your strength,
On days I think of when I saw you last.
The number of visitors left many to admire,
All there to say “Goodbye, we love you.”
Although I try, it’s hard to keep your pride,
Just to think you’ll never be there to dance.
As hard as it is, I’ll continue to dance,
And let your spirit fill me with strength.
As hard as it is, I’ll prominently show my pride,
For now I know you are not the last.
Those you raised have a piece of you,
A piece anyone could admire.
Poem and photo provided by Brooklyn Shinabargar