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Posts Tagged ‘exploring poetry’

The world begins at a kitchen table.

No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it
will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we
make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at
our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place tocelebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Perhaps the World Ends Here – Joy Harjo

(From “The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems”  by Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate)

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While I have always enjoyed poetry, I have not had the tendency to read poems on a regular basis. Posts by Nan at Letters from a Hill Farm and Teresa over at Teresa Evangeline have introduced me to poets in the past several years that I had not yet met. They also served to remind me of some wonderful volumes I have sitting quite patiently on my own shelves. Then, there is Pamela, from The House of Edward, who has such a visually breathtaking post with her characteristically exquisite prose and an intriguing list of autumn reads, including a new book of poetry by Mary Oliver. Should you have the time, I encourage you to visit them. Perhaps explore an unfamiliar poet as you embrace this changing season. Find a quiet spot. Read a poem or two. Dare to read one aloud. Poetry comes alive when given a human voice.

All this leads me to Nancy Wood’s “Shaman’s Circle”, where I found Monday’s poem, Why the Great Spirit Made Hands.

I first discovered Nancy Wood in a gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. Tom and I were exploring on a crisp, clear, winter’s day and wandered into Frank Howell’s gallery. Experiencing originals of Howell’s vast body of Southwestern art was amazing. We had both appreciated his work for some time, but, as with all art, it took on new meaning to see the actual paintings.

As I wandered around, I noticed some books for sale; works of poetry illustrated by Frank Howell. Feeling I’d found the best of all worlds right there at my fingertips, and something I could actually afford, I picked up “Spirit Walker”, discovering it was signed by both Howell and Wood. What more can I say, dear reader? “Spirit Walker” walked out the door with me and I felt as if I made a new friend. Over the years, I acquired “Shaman’s Circle” and “Dancing Moons”.

Nancy Wood’s poetry comes from her longtime association with the people of the Taos Pueblo Indians of Santa Fe, New Mexico, embracing their spirituality and relationship with the earth. Her poetry has an earthy quality to it and a great respect for the land, the sky, the soul. She also has a deep respect for the people; the mothers and grandfathers and children in the circle of life.

I don’t think it was an accident that Why the Great Spirit Made Hands opened up to me just when I had a picture for it. Wood’s words have presented themselves to me at other times in my life; a memorial service reading, the difficult time of a friend, a winter’s day, the night sky. Has this ever happened to you? Have you experienced a new poet or poem lately?

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