Held within opalescent projectile point, Spirit of
Ramah Bay Chert, chilling smiting light, can be
Visualized but rarely felt or touched by straying
Hands or hearts of modern man.
Maritime Archaic Indians understood its mystical
Powers, living charms, pained blood-letting,
Fleeting speed and mortal accuracy of primitive
Arrows and bounding, hand-thrown spears.
Amongst desolate bays of northern Labrador,
Protected stones glisten waitingly, longing for
Their banded enclosures to rekindle light,
Resurrection from Arctic’s frozen grip.
Using simple tools, antler and stone, ancient
Labrador Indians shaped chert cores, creating
Tools and weapons, skills lost but to a few flint-
Knappers who scour wind-swept bays for prized
Specimens of icy-appearing rock.
Once delicate hammer-stone knapping begins,
Four-thousand year tradition is evoked, sleeping
Spirits rouse blood-yearnings, and translucent
Chert warms in artisan’s skilled hands, its spirit
Reaching across time to his receptive heart.
With learnéd precision, flintknapper expertly
Percusses minute flakes of chert, imparting lethal
Form to bifaced silica stone, chipping corner edges
And delicate attaching stem, magical joining
Of projectile point and spruce-wood arrow shaft.
As with ages past, once secured with thread-like
Sinews and sticky natural resins, arrows are
Complete, destined for taking barren-ground
Caribou, migrating in ranging herds across
Rolling Labrador taiga.
Whilst Maritime Indians were lost to eddying
Arctic time, their exquisite projectile points
Survived, echoes of hunter’s rallying voice,
Images of early occupation held deep within
Telling translucence of Ramah Bay chert-stone.
When I saw banded opalescent projectile points, they spoke of distant Labradorian past. For “poetry of precision,” please see exquisite artifact reproductions crafted by Tim Rast with Lori White on their blog site: http://elfshotgallery.blogspot.com/