howlin at the moon

take the moon

nd take a star

when you don’t

know who you are

 

paint the picture in your hand

nd roll on home

take my fear

nd take the hunger

take my body

when i’m younger

 

paint the picture in your hand

nd roll on home  

 

take my ghost

nd make the claim

stake it out

to feel the pain

 

paint the picture in your hand

nd roll on home

 

take the moon

nd make it talk

take your soul out

make it walk

 

paint the picture in your hand

nd roll on home

 

take my anguish

take the air

make it into

my despair

 

paint the picture in your hand

nd roll on home

 

take my anger 

nd the greed

make it into

what you need

 

paint the picture in your hand

nd roll on home

 

take my pride

nd all my joy

take my woman

nd take my boy

 

paint the picture in your hand

nd roll on home

 

paint the picture once again

i’m rollin home

Wayne Keon, "howlin at the moon," from Sweetgrass II. Copyright © 1995 by Wayne Keon. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: An Anthology of Native Canadian Literature in English (4th ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Dive in: 
  1. Who is the speaker in this poem? What do we know about them?
  2. What does the refrain make you think of: “paint the picture in your hand / nd roll on home.”?
  3. What rhyming pattern has the poet created? How does that shape your reading of the poem?
  4. How would you describe the mood of this poem?
  5. If you were reciting this poem, how would you handle its rhythm and rhyme? (It would be very easy to fall into a sing-song delivery.)
  6. Write a poem that includes a refrain. As a variation, use the refrain or two other lines from “howlin at the moon” as your refrain.
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