Medicine Speaker

  • Sharon’s poem.  Sharon Pasula

I submitted two poems to Word On the Street. The first one was not rejected but came back with a comment: “In most cases, community juries have stayed away from references to specific religions.”

Here is my original submission:

Words are medicine,
that’s what the old ones say.
That’s what the Bible says too.
But the deal is it’s up to you,
will your medicine give life or take it away?

Initially, I wanted to either leave it and risk the censure or withdraw it completely. But I pondered it prayerfully. Also, I really did want to see something literally “engraved in stone’”(concrete in this context). So, I did a small change and submitted this:

Words are medicine,
that’s what the old ones say.
That’s what ancient words say too.
But the deal is it’s up to you,
will your medicine give life or take it away?

This poem was accepted and sandblasted on the street adjacent to the former McCauley School (now the Edmonton Intercultural Centre), one of three locations for the poems. I was thrilled, of course. I actually prefer the revision.

As I took a few photos I recalled that I once attended McCauley School in grades one and two. Now, here were engraved words that represent two aspects of my being. Indigenous Elders have always encouraged us to speak good because there is power in words (the old ones). My faith as a follower of the Jesus Way says the same thing (medicine). Creator has a way of bringing us back to our roots, a full circle. Thank you Creator for bringing me back full circle and help me to be a medicine-speaker.

Sharon Pasula is an Indigenous spiritual and cultural resource person who lives in Boyle Street.

More in this issue

Neighbourhood Views

  • Portrait of a Caterpillar – Gord Currie is an Ambrose Place resident who has taken up photography to cope with the challenges in his life. Here is an example of his work. He says that he has gone from “poverty to photography” and gives credit for this photo “to the caterpillar for being a good subject.” Gord Currie

  • Graffiti Artists at Work – Graffiti artists made original creations during Hip Hop in the Park on May 26 at Boyle Street Plaza. Paula E. Kirman

  • Editor Receives Award from ESPC – Boyle McCauley News Editor Paula E. Kirman received the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Award of Merit for Advocacy of Social Justice on May 24. She is pictured between ESPC Research Coordinator John Kolkman and his wife Kate Quinn, both McCauley residents and founders of the paper. Melissa Scott

  • Harbin Gate Memories – Memories written about the Harbin Gate hang on the fence where it was removed for Valley Line LRT construction. Paula E. Kirman

  • MUSE Awards – The Edmonton Muse, an online magazine dealing with local art, culture, and music, celebrated its first anniversary on May 25. As part of the celebration at the Starlite Room, awards were handed out to several Edmontonians making a difference. One of the recipients was Sinder Sparks, founder of The Musical Mamas Society, a group of women musicians from in and around the area. Paula E. Kirman

  • MUSE Awards – The Edmonton Muse, an online magazine dealing with local art, culture, and music, celebrated its first anniversary on May 25. As part of the celebration at the Starlite Room, awards were handed out to several Edmontonians making a difference. Boyle McCauley News Editor Paula E. Kirman was the first recipient for her involvement in a number of volunteer, non-profit groups. Marissa Loewen

  • New Community Space at Bissell Centre – Ryan Arcand presents Gary St. Amand, CEO of Bissell Centre, an eagle staff at the grand opening of Bissell Centre’s new community space in its west building, on June 11. The drop-in has improved access to basic needs and support services. Paula E. Kirman  

Around the Neighbourhood

Volunteer With Us!

We are always looking for new writers and photographers, as well as ideas for future stories. We also regularly need block carriers to help with the delivery and distribution of the paper. Email Paula with your submissions, feedback, ideas, and availability. We also ask that contributors read our Editorial Guidelines and that all volunteers read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

Next Issue . . .

Our next issue is September. Articles and photos concerning community news, events, and opinions are welcome. We also encourage submissions of poetry, and cartoons (in JPG or PDF format). Deadline: August 12. Send submissions to: editor@bmcnews.org. Articles should be 400 words or less and accompanied by photographs (JPG, in high resolution) when possible.