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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Wood’

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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The Great Spirit made hands before he made

      eyes or feet, so people could learn to hold

      one another. Hands were useful for touching

      the hard ribs of trees or the soft tongues of flower petals.

      Hands discovered the dry uncertainty of snakes, the

      slipperiness of fish, the mystery of feathers. Hands found

Other hands and clasped together to embrace the oncoming world,

      unafraid. Two pairs of hands, burned by fire and cooled

      by water, felt their way along unfamiliar paths and then

      reached out and found they needed one another

      to make a home in the wilderness of their minds.

From “Shaman’s Circle”, Why the Great Spirit Made Hands by Nancy Wood.

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