Poospatucks (1875)

And on the southern coast of Long Island
I visited a large inlet they call Moriches Creek
where the last of the Poospatucks live,
about twenty families in all,
farming the land and fishing the sea.
I met the only two men who looked full-blooded,
with skin the color of cinnamon
and long straight hair
and a strange calm burning in their faces …
One of them, a stout man about fifty
who smoked an old corncob pipe,
gave me the only Poospatuck words he remembers now:
met–cheek, turtle — skook, snake — and to–bi–ni
                        which means thank you.
But he alone, he said, knows any Poospatuck.

[Return to Cohen's Profile]