His name meant “His Horse Is Crazy,” which in battle must have indeed appeared to be so because his horse ran here and there, everywhere except where you could shoot it. It ran right at you; it ran diagonally; it ran away from you; and it inexplicably even ran parallel to the line of the battle, which, like all battles, was in continuous flux.
It follows that, if you couldn’t shoot Crazy Horse’s horse, you couldn’t shoot Crazy Horse himself. Once, during a battle with the Shoshones, when he and his brother were in dire straights, Crazy Horse yelled, “Take care of yourself, and I will do the fancy stunt.” He did, and both of them not only lived, but Crazy Horse took a scalp, and both brothers captured two horses and then galloped to the safety of the Black Hills, the home of the Oglala Sioux.
The Black Hills (“The Heart of All That Is”) was the home of the Oglala Sioux like Red Cloud, Short Buffalo, Black Elk, Little Big Man, Touch the Clouds (who was seven feet tall), Spotted Tail (a Brule Sioux), He Dog, American Horse, and Sitting Bull, who was a Hunkpapa Sioux, not Oglala like Crazy Horse.
Crazy Horse fought with Sitting Bull at the Little Big Horn and, of course, won. He also fought with Red Cloud at The Fetterman Fight, known as Red Cloud’s War. That was a great victory for the Sioux as well.
Crazy Horse was never defeated, although he had to surrender to the U.S. Army because apparently it was going to take the entire U.S. Army to kill Crazy Horse. The “fancy stunt” would work on a few hundred Indians and maybe a thousand army cavalry, but Crazy Horse wasn’t crazy enough to think it would work on an entire army. Even his horse wasn’t crazy enough to think that.
Crazy Horse died in the custody of the U.S. Army in his late thirties, bayoneted by a guard who thought he was trying to escape. So foreign was captivity to him, Crazy Horse did not even realize his movements were limited during custody. He did not know the meaning of limits. For him, The Black Hills (“The Heart of All That Is”), the universe itself, was without limits and certainly without borders.
He simply walked out of the building he was in to get a bit of fresh air. It never occurred to him that he was no longer free. Later that night, he died a free man. They never got around to putting him in jail. He died on the floor, declining an army cot.
Crazy Horse was never wounded in battle. No photograph or drawing exists of him. He would not allow his photograph to be taken or even a drawing of him to be made.
Yet we know all we need to know of the Oglala Sioux warrior named Crazy Horse, for his spirit is in us as human beings. When we have the spirit of Crazy Horse, we know him better than any history book or documentary can tell us, for his spirit is great and beyond all limits.
Things in and of themselves are a problem for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that, while things may seem to exist, it is their characteristics that truly exist, not things in and of themselves.
But you might exclaim, “How can things not exist?”
A thing exists only to the extent that we perceive it in space and time, in type and kind.
But you might observe, “Space and time, type and kind, are things in and of themselves.”
The way we experience space and time, type and kind, is through their characteristics, not in and of themselves.
And you might observe, “Then these words do not exist, just their characteristics.”
Then you might say, “Where does this leave us?”
Characteristics leave us wherever we want them to leave us.
And you might say, "I want us to be left in love.”
A poem has special ways of being and working that differ from other forms of communication. A poem aims at TRUTH, not facts (although a fact may be used, usually to get the poem going). A poem aims at SPIRIT, not details...although it might use a detail from where to begin.
A poem must be read as a WHOLE with a purpose that exceeds the worth of its component parts. A poem is greater than the sum of its words, phrases, sentences, and stanzas. It is not merely a collection of isolated words. The essence of the poem is its overall message and atmosphere, not its details. This is true of all poems.
Keep in mind that poems have their own purposes and are not undilutedly biographical or even compositely autobiographical sketches of literature. The poet is permitted to catch a bit of actual dialogue or a paraphrase of a piece of dialogue, the origin of which may form a prompt...a writing prompt for the poem.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that not even the poet has complete control over how the poem takes shape. A good poem almost writes itself, and the poet has to get out of the way or give way to the dictates of the poem. So, focusing on any biographical or even autobiographical elements in the poem will not significantly aid in experiencing the poem as a universe in and of itself.
Poetry, as such, is a creation of a whole new existential and emotional experience, and all the elements of a poem must be considered in light of all the other elements within it so the reader may become immersed in that new world of being and feeling.
A crossword here, a Sudoku there snatches of conversation across the room...
Life is snapped together like a puzzle made from the pieces of other puzzles.
We have long ago abandoned reconstructing the original image.
Instead, we fashion new images, approximations of Eden closed to the Public thousands of years ago.
While perfect, the image of what was meant to be is inferior to the pastiche of what is, missing pieces and all...
Snatches of conversations, wordplay leading to business deals, marriage proposals births, deaths, dissertations, and more entice our Edenic impulse like a puzzle fated to incompleteness... and therefore mortally unfinished.
If we ever found all the pieces of Eden, we would cease to strive toward it and stop trying to live it.
For it is not in us to be content with the pieces of a puzzle that is already complete in another Land that we can see but not touch...