The Song of Narbona

~
So different this New Man,
The Blue Man,
These Dragoons of Kearny.
I see him –
But he,
He doesn’t see me!

A New Man,
This Blue Man,
Pale-faced as white sand,
A fraction of men,
Sent here by Kearny.

A Blue van
Of New Men,
The Blue Man new army.
He comes at a fast pace,
To Navajo land.

But the Navajo know.
They know, I know!
I see them, although,
They never see me!

I watch from atop,
My airy aloft,
And see all below,
What comes, and what goes –
No one escapes,
The Seer who sees;
Nothing gets past,
A Knower that knows.

Listen now reader,
This song has been sung!
And I shall revive it,
In Navajo song.

This is a story
You too should know.
The tale of the glory,
Before it would go,
Of Dinetah,
Narbona,
In New Mexico.

I know all there is,
Of that which has gone;
All of such commerce
As Man’s goings on.

I am the seer
And singer of song,
I sing now the story
Before it too gone.

The Navajo know!
But many do not,
Thus comes my tale
Before it is lost.

Lost to the mind,
Memory’s cache –
This is the story
Of one famous day.

Listen! now reader,
Listen to one
Who knows and will tell you,
How Narbona, a leader,
Of the Navajo
First met the New Man,
And Let him then go.

~
The New Man,
The Blue Man,
The Dragoons of Kearny,
Bilagaana
They call him,
Come to Dinetah –
The Blue Man,
A New Man,
To New Mexico.

They ride!
They ride!
They ride like the wind.
Aimless and flowing,
Ride on the New Men.

Thirty there came,
Thirty on horse,
Over terrain,
A small mighty force!

They search for The Man –
The Chief man their course.

The first man,
The last man,
Any Man can!
Will do in perforce
For the Navajo land.

Who is these New Man?
These Brazen young men!
Much to their valor,
And poor acumen.

No one – Not one!
Has dared heretofore,
To reach out,
Seek out,
To Navajo Man.

To seek out the Dineh
Was always for war.
Always a battle,
To settle some score.

~
But, this envoy’s different!
The New Man entreats!
A Blue Dragoon regiment,
That comes here in peace.

I see them, they come!
I watch as they flow;
They ride on the run,
In purpose they go.

They ride with the gusto,
Much saddled up macho,
The Blue Men are New Men
To New Mexico.

Make contact! A contract!
Make a peace treaty.
A Captain named Reid,
The party of thirty.

A dangerous foray,
This New Blue Man envoy –
To enter Dinetah
Alone shows bravada.

No known direction,
Each risks his own life,
To total destruction,
By Navajo knife.

Three days in riding,
Three days of hiding;
The Dineh abiding,
Awaiting, demising.
The weal of the thirty
New Men, compromising –
Where they are going
Will be their undoing.

Three days and counting,
When Dineh come mounting
On horse, in force.
The fear and loathing
Appear tour de force.

This New Man’s audacious!
Shamelessly reckless.
The path he is weaving
And leading so feckless
Belies all cunning
And defies his hubris.

And Reid will then speak
When finally confronted,
By Navajo riders,
On their horses all mounted.

He wishes to meet
With the Navajo chief,
The leader of men
Of Navajo nation.

Another day’s ride!
Another day farther.
Further inside
To their destination.

~
One more day
(They’ll be led astray!)
To meet with the man,
They call him Narbona.

And thus they would go
Further into,
And deeper inside,
The Navajo land
In search for a man,
A man called Narbona.

Go farther, go thither,
In the interior;
The land of the Dineh
Awaits for his murder.

This be the price
For those who intrude;
Death will be twice
As long for so rude.

The Navajo band
Leads the New Man,
Taking him deeper
In circles and danger.

In hundreds they grow!
And circle around;
By hundreds surround,
The Thirty or so.

These are New Men,
The Blue Men,
Only but new men –
They do not know
The Navajo clan,
Dineh, Dinetah,
of New Mexico.

They search for someone,
The one called Narbona;
Going in circles,
They’re search now goes slow.

Each day that goes on
The chance it will grow
In slaughter for New Man,
By the Navajo.

How strange is this meeting
With possible foe—
Bilagaana, the New Man,
With the Navajo.

The Spaniards,
The Mexicans,
And even Pueblo—
These Old Men,
The Navajo
Have all come to know.

Strange is this New Man
To the Navajo.
Curiosity grows
In bravery exposed.

One more day!
And perhaps they will know;
One day more!
The peril still grows.

The New Man
Comes hither
To usurp a role.
The Blue Man,
A new man,
He just doesn’t know,
The Spirit of Dineh,
Or Navajo Soul.

Two cultures meeting
The first time, forever—
Dragoons in blue,
Where some wore their leather.

The Navajo wear
A loin cloth and feather –
Another day more!
Just one day more, further.

And just at the moment
Death should bestride them,
An old man, Narbona!
Appears on horizon.

~
This sudden surprise
Short ends their demise;
For now, anyway,
The New Man survives.

And only because
Narbona arrives.
His figure falls into
Everyone’s eyes.
He doesn’t look well,
On the horse that he rides.

Six foot tall,
But that isn’t all ¬–
There’s six inches more
All slumped to the fore.
And barely alive
At age eighty-five,
It’s amazing at all
Narbona arrives.

His size and his age
Would alone make him sage,
But then would come
Tribal selection.

The New Man’s mistaken
In holding belief
The Navajo, as others,
Have only one chief.

A clan-like system,
Each leader, familial,
‘Round matriarch women,
The clan forms an axial.

A man may prove eager
To become a leader;
But clan-like families
hold different realities.

Too much of success,
The Dineh eschew;
To share with the clan
Will make a male man.

Excess in success,
Is not the first value –
A man must first
Take care of his milieu.

Evil betides
He who elides
The Navajo way,
And turn to the evil –
A Navajo Vei.

Narbona, however,
Has made his respect,
As sage through age,
And deep circumspect.

~
The New Man is quiet,
Afraid to come near.
We see what small valor
Escapes from the fear.

There is much to be seen
That goes all around,
As they sit,
To co-mingle,
Down on the ground.

I, from my high-top,
Where I can espy,
I see all that happens
From keen sight of eye.

First! I see Fear,
Appear from the Blue Man,
His getting acquainted
To a brand new Indian.

On his part, Narbona,
As well as his people,
Are curious of nature,
But cautiously heedful.

Both sides aloof,
One, the upper hand;
The other, in danger,
In another man’s land.

Unknowing is showing
In Captain Reid’s heart,
Glowing and growing
Beginning from start.

Arranging themselves
In high profile posture—
Fear to be conquered,
It first must be mastered!

They sit in a circle
Down on the ground.
The fires are started
In center and round
The people called Dineh
And New Man’s blue army.

And the women have come!
They ride their own horse.
In their Navajo tongue
They encourage, enforce!
Their men to Rise Up!

“The force is but small,
Their strength, just as well.
Overpower them all,
This New Man of Evil.”

~
Narbona then calms
The outburst of qualms.
A wise man, Narbona,
It’s good that he’s come.

For he knows the strength
Of New Man’s blue army –
It’s reach has more length,
The long arm of Kearny.

“They will return,
Tenfold to burn,
Attack all, and bring pall –
Great is their memory.

Such, is the strength,
Bilagaana’s big army.
Be calmed, be balanced.
Deny, Dineh,
Yourself of such heresy!

Changing Woman
Has brought us a test,
To choose from which paths,
What path is best.

Let us now hear
What New Man may say.
His words may well tell us
Which of the ways
We choose or ignore,
My fellow Dineh.”

Narbona thus speaks!
He’s seeking release
From war – To a more
Chance with dance peace.

Narbona, now old,
Is showing fatigue,
From decades bemired
In wars all inspired
By youthful desires –
No longer admired.

Ken to the power
This Bluecoat can shower
On the clans of the Dineh,
Narbona is tired.

“Bilagaana is here
In peace, that is clear.
Let us give New Man
His chance at his say.

There is time
For a War Dance,
And time
For Peace Chants.

He seeks to entreat
For a permanent peace.
Even if short-lived,
It won’t do us harm.
Him, let us here welcome,
And not be so warm.”

Agreement then reaches
To meet at the beaches
Of Bear Springs,
Two weeks from the day.

And there to create,
Pray that the hate
And fighting that’s fated
All of the peoples
At long last abate.

If not then, surcease,
Last long enough peace –
This much, at least,
Should be ample.

~
I watch what transpires
From my airy towers –
Goodwill takes the Chill
From angry fires.

And thus, at this time,
This place at this clime,
Two races encounter
In face to face banter –
The Blue Men of Kearny
With Narbona and plenty
Of peoples that go by
They name they call Dineh.

And I, on my part,
Hereby report:
Narbona did start
The change
Changing Woman
Had him impart,
With New Man,
Bilagaana,
Of New Mexico.

Narbona, a wise man,
Of the Navajo.
Herewith, Narbona,
Let New Man then go!
~

©2012, Marvin Welborn.
Revised 3 September 2014.

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