“…The Anglo-Saxon race should build a towering monument to this woman who died a martyr to childhood and who lies buried in an unmarked grave far from her Native home….I can truthfully say that neither my rifle or my knife are stained with Cherokee blood…. However, murder is murder whether committed by the villain skulking in the dark or by uniformed men stepping to strains of martial music. Murder is murder and somebody must answer, somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country in the summer of 1838. Somebody must explain the four thousand silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees in their exile. I wish I could forget it all but the picture of six hundred and forty-five wagons lumbering over the frozen ground with their cargo of human suffering still lingers in my memory….”

 

                                                  - Lieutenant John G. Burnett, December 11, 1890

Unmarked Grave is a fiction that marks the unmarked grave of my ancestor. In her memory, I recall the sacrifices made by others who made the journey, namely a Cherokee woman who lost her life on the Westward Journey of the Cherokees and was buried “far from her Native home.” Her act of compassion on November 17, in 1838, is remembered that it may call to those who endure the trials of democracy at present and whose “trails of  tears” continue in our time.

In response to a request made by an American lieutenant who assisted in the Removal of the Cherokee Indians to the West in 1838, I have written a love song to the dead. My story is a family saga that commemorates the endurance of a Cherokee woman, otherwise broken by tragedy, and adds to the ranks of America’s heroes another name. I thank my mother, Minnette Tittle de Loach, who did not live to see the publication of this story, but who has shone like a knowing star on my efforts to make good on a pamphlet about The Trail of Tears that we picked up at an East Texas flea market and purchased for a nickel. She gave me her dreams and her stories about my great-grandmother. She lit the memory fire. I also thank Steven de Laet, Ellen Joseph, Gerry McCauley for taking a long writing journey with me.

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Walking Song

A Story From the Earth

"Dear Dianne, 

I am very much enjoying reading "Giants." You are quite a splendid writer. I guess it comes as naturally as your father's arm. I have still not formulated the final approach on the film, but I would like to talk to you in the future, when the time is right, and once the film "Nixon" opens. Best wishes to your Dad. 

Regards, 

Oliver Stone"

Giants & Heroes: A Daughter’s Memories of Y.A. Tittle celebrates a modern day sports hero. Hall of Fame football quarterback, Y.A. Tittle, is the only inductee to the National Hall of Fame who never won a national championship. Dianne employs the victory songs of the Western World’s first sports writer, the lyric poet, Pindar, to set the record straight. By recreating an ancient victory song for a modern day athlete as opposed to writing a traditional celebrity memoir, Dianne is obliged to name the victor within the framework of her story, and does....

Lt. John G. Burnett was an American soldier who assisted in the removal of the Cherokee Indians to Indian territory in 1838. He recalls a snowy night on November 17, 1838, when the wife of the Cherokee chief gave her blanket to a sick child and died from exposure before dawn. In his eye witness account, he calls on the Anglo Saxon race to build a "towering monument" to her act of compassion. 

In response, Dianne has created a series of figures from natural elements that recalls the Trail of Tears and serves as her "monument" for an American Hero. 

"For the longest time, from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages and into modern times, writers have poured enormous quantity of ink over the subject of “Ars imitatur naturam in sua operatione,” or "art imitates nature in its own way of working."  You have managed to reverse the process and made nature imitate art. I was stricken by the immediacy and intimacy of your figures, the genuine message they send. I know how important peer review is among artists and you have all my acknowledgement and recognition."

 

                                                          Massimo Masson, painter

"The night was a black rose at your shoulder..."

 

Inspired by the praise songs of the ancients who sang the praises of their gods, their heroes, and the earth, these poems are a variation on a theme. 

Gold shines gold when you test it.

...Take heart in what you have

--Pindar

It is said that Virtue, or Arete, has her dwelling place

above high rock cliffs hard to climb. 

Yet she is not to be seen by every eye

But only by one who with sweat and determination

Climbs to the peak

-- Simonides

I take it! The coming to stillness, the angle of Shade

I take it! The bird's throat and the sky wearing her necklace of sound

I take it! This day

And the worship left in my body

Like raindrops pooled in stone...

A visual poem of America's red rock country and verse for a relatively unknown American hero, Quattie Ross

Messages Between Rose & Jasmine:

From the Diary of and Infidel

You can break the stone but the not voice

That voice behind and below the stone,

The voice above and within builds again

its foundation of green for the oldest story

 

The one about ruined and shattered cities

and those who take aim with hate at our humanity,

even as they bloody our God with His own Creation,

forever shoot wide of the mark

 

Because their story about injustice and slaughter,

loud with noisy sputter, is not the one that sounds.

Rather the human voice rising from our struggle

And lifting the burden of breath high

Keeps....

 

So that the mighty rose

Blossoming now in the green

Will pass to us

Hagar the Egyptian - Dianne Tittle de Laet
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The Arete Storybook of Myth, Hope, and Fable

Audio Book

Hercules and Arete at the Crossroads - Dianne Tittle de Laet
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Song to Mother Earth - Dianne Tittle de Laet
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The Eagle, The Cat, and the Pig - Aesop - read by Dianne
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Song to Demeter - Dianne Tittle de Laet
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Hemes and the Woodcutter - Aesop
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The Miller - Aesop read by Dianne
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What Time do the Deer Go to Sleep? - Dianne Tittle de Laet
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The Peace Tree - Dianne Tittle de Laet
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Mary's Secret Chest - Dianne Tittle de Laet
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The Ant, the Mulberry, and the Monkey - Aesop - read by Dianne
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This audio storybook is a book of myth and story that dignifies the right of a young person to imagine and to know the hero as that best friend of one's best thoughts.

Included in storybook are myths, fables, and stories, some of which Dianne has adapted and performed over the years to the accompaniment of the harp. Among them, a Homeric Hymn to inspire a budding environmentalist, some of the lesser known fables by Aesop that characterize racial intolerance and ignorance, and a true myth about the meeting between the legendary Heracles and Virtue, or Arete at the Crossroads.