Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
“Remember.” Copyright © 1983 by Joy Harjo from She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
The night is dewy as a maiden's mouth,
The skies are bright as are a maiden's eyes,
Soft as a maiden's breath the wind that flies
Up from the perfumed bosom of the South.
Like sentinels, the pines stand in the park;
And hither hastening, like rakes that roam,
With lamps to light their wayward footsteps home,
The fireflies come stagg'ring down the dark.
This poem is in the public domain.
—after Ted Berrigan
Even on the 13th floor of a high building, Chicago’s
wind winds its slick way through any unsecured
window on its singsong to the lake. It’s fine-tuned,
perfectly pitched in this sinister season
of cackling jack-o’-lanterns & candy corns
nobody eats unless they’re the last sweets left.
Bags of fun nonsense for all the little ninjas
& ghosts. It’s true, I weep too much when
the seasons partition: snack-sized tears dropping onto
tear-sized leaves swirling in the autumn
of my reproduction. Occasional receipts & parking
tickets, too, yellowed during their own windy migrations.
Like the rest of us gusty apparitions, every
untethered thing ends up at the lake shore seasonally.
Copyright © 2023 by Adrian Matejka. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 24, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.