Joy Harjo

Monday, August 19, 2013

For Shiloh - Magnificent Border Collie ~ 1997-2013



I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life

Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.


Mary Oliver


 ***


Pear Dreams

 for Shiloh

From the cool shade of the porch
I toss my half-eaten pear
out into the vast landscape
of desert backyard,
and watch as our border collie
snaps for it.

It is hers
forever.

She sends an artful glance
to our german shepherd,
a few feet away,
who, now,
can only dream
of tasting the sweet mushy meat
and chewing on the small funny stem.

ECS
As read on W.B.U.R's  Here & Now, in 2004.


Friday, August 9, 2013

To the month of August and our hands...



These Hands, If Not Gods

Haven't they moved like rivers--
like Glory, like light--
over the seven days of your body?

And wasn't that good?
Them at your hips--

isn't this what God felt when he pressed together
the first Beloved: Everything.
Fever. Vapor. Atman. Pulsus. Finally,
a sin worth hurting for. Finally, a sweet, a
You are mine.

It is hard not to have faith in this:
from the blue-brown clay of night
these two potters crushed and smoothed you
into being--grind, then curve--built your form up--

atlas of bone, fields of muscle,
one breast a fig tree, the other a nightingale,
both Morning and Evening.

O, the beautiful making they do--
of trigger and carve, suffering and stars--

Aren't they, too, the dark carpenters
of your small church? Have they not burned
on the altar of your belly, eaten the bread
of your thighs, broke you to wine, to ichor,
to nectareous feast?

Haven't they riveted your wrists, haven't they
had you at your knees?

And when these hands touched your throat,
showed you how to take the apple and the rib,
how to slip a thumb into your mouth and taste it all,
didn't you sing out their ninety-nine names--

Zahir, Aleph, Hands-time-seven,
Sphinx, Leonids, locomotura,
Rubidium, August, and September--
And when you cried out, O, Prometheans,
didn't they bring fire?

These hands, if not gods, then why
when you have come to me, and I have returned you
to that from which you came--bright mud, mineral-salt--
why then do you whisper O, my Hecatonchire. My Centimani.
My hundred-handed one?
 

About This Poem

"The images and hands of this poem began building during Mass one Sunday. The reading was about the laying of hands on someone, and I began thinking of how my own hands work upon a body. How they do things both beautiful and awful--to gently trace a throat in one moment, to hold it tightly in another--a type of sweet wreckery that makes me feel godlike and helpless all at once." 

--Natalie Diaz