by Joy Harjo
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
We pray that it will be done
~From In Mad Love and War. © Wesleyan University Press, 1990.
Joy in the body
Winter: Tonight: Sunset
by David Budbill
Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first
through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop
and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.
I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age
and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening
a prayer for being here, today, now, alive
in this life, in this evening, under this sky.
(“Winter: Tonight: Sunset” by David Budbill, from While We’ve Still Got Feet. © Copper Canyon Press, 2005.)
Before the fall
by David Wagoner
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
by Burton D. Carley
I do not know if the seasons remember their history or if the days and
nights by which we count time remember their own passing.
I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting or if the pine
remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.
I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall’s gathering or if the
bluejay remembers the meaning of snow.
I do not know if the air remembers September or if the night remembers
I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring or if
the evergreen remembers that it shall stay so.
Perhaps that is the reason for our births—to be the memory for
Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected.
Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:
“What can you tell me about September?”
Mahmoud Darwish says:
As you prepare your breakfast — think of others
(don’t forget to feed the pigeons).
As you conduct your wars — think of others
(don’t forget those who want peace).
As you pay your water bill — think of others
(think of those who have only the clouds to drink from).
As you go home, your own home — think of others
(don’t forget those who live in tents).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
(there are people who have no place to sleep).
As you liberate yourself with metaphors think of others
(those who have lost their right to speak).
And as you think of distant others — think of yourself
(and say, I wish I were a candle in the darkness).
Continue reading “Drought”
The moon’s breath
The morning sings.
The egg-shaped moon
is exhaling clouds.
I breathe in and
exhale a song of my own.
as the symphony of birds
respond with hymns