Son of a Cherokee-English father and an Irish mother, Ralph Salisbury grew up among storytellers and has shared his family's tales and experiences in seven previous books of prose and poetry. Now in Rainbows of Stone he returns with a striking collection of poems that interweaves family tales with personal and tribal history.
Salisbury conjures images that define his life, from the vanishing farming and hunting traditions with which he was raised to his experiences in World War II as a member of a bomber crew. He writes of himself and of Indian people as Vanishing Americans—vanishing into the mingling of races—and sees himself as a pacifistic patriot concerned that we not continue the destructive reliance on war that marks our history.
Writing as one who is "not part Indian, part white, but wholly both," Salisbury has produced a haunting, powerful work that expresses his devotion to the Cherokee religion, its fidelity to its forebears, and its harmony with the forces of Nature. For all concerned with ecology, social justice, and peace, Rainbows of Stone conveys a growing awareness of the world and a sense of how each individual connects with the universal and timeless realities of every other human being.