MOONSONG LULLABY by Jamake Highwater


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To the accompaniment of color photographs of the present-day Southwest, comes a somewhat anachronistic evocation of the ""People of the campfire"" (""Our men are home from the hunt with the mighty deer who died for us today. And from the ferny paths of the forest we have speckled eggs and wild berries and pine nuts"")--followed, for the greater part of the book, by some lyricizing about the Moon and the night and the morn. Little of this, however, is within a child's scope of thinking or expression (""The night is shelter for those who weep. The darkness is filled with the loneliness of those whose loved ones have gone away. The moon caresses their brown faces, turning tears into glimmering beadwork--adornment to ease the hour of sorrow""); and, indeed, the more one ponders the words, the more strained they seem--age apart (""turning tears into glimmering beadwork--adornment to ease the hour of sorrow""?). Some of the photographs pose a problem too--of incompatibility; thus, when ""Our compfires are small and black [and] Only the great Elk is awake to hear the singing. . . the humming humming, quiet strumming of the Moon's silver wings,"" that elk looks to be standing in the sunlight. But the chief difficulty is that everything rests on words (the photos are uninteresting in themselves) that have no particular resonance and little concrete meaning.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1982
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard