The bison are here - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

The bison are here

A bison and calf run across the landscape
Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service

The land was dry,  
shattered, and cracked. 
in fragments —  
a dead sea of grass. 

Laid low by the hand, 
for the hoof is now gone. 
Regret in the heart 
for we knew it was wrong. 

So many have died. 
the herd has decayed 
as time marches past 
the bones that have stayed. 

Wind kicks the dust. 
a weed tumbles by. 
Swollen grey clouds 
sit low in the sky. 

Close up of a bison in snow
Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service

Mist settles in, 
a haze in the clouds, 
a deep roll of thunder — 
mighty and proud. 

Water, she falls, 
to the Earth with a sigh. 
Soaking the land, 
a gift from the Sky. 

Lightning, he strikes, 
he splinters across 
the homeland of 
those whom we thought to be 

The horizon line rages 
something draws near. 
A thundering heartbeat — 
the bison are here! 

They slam the dirt 
they bleat and they moan. 
Triumphant with hope 
for they know they are home. 

The bison are here! 
The bison are here! 

Alive and in Spirit. 
no longer in fear, 
for the people can see, 
that the bison are here. 

This poem was written by Marley Duckett, one of Y2Y’s 2022 story gatherers. These four unique people are sharing personal stories, memories and places related to the special landscapes of Alberta’s Eastern Slopes, often perspectives that are underrepresented in mainstream media. Read other stories in this series.

We are grateful for the financial support provided by Alberta Ecotrust and The Calgary Foundation for our story gatherer series.