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 © 1990 by Joy Harjo. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.
Harjo, Joy, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems; Copyright © 2015 by W. W. Norton & Company. Reprinted with permission of Anderson Literary Management LLC, 244 Fifth Avenue, Floor 11, New York, NY 10001.
Fashionable women in luxurious homes, With men to feed them, clothe them, pay their bills, Bow, doff the hat, and fetch the handkerchief; Hostess or guest; and always so supplied With graceful deference and courtesy; Surrounded by their horses, servants, dogs— These tell us they have all the rights they want. Successful women who have won their way Alone, with strength of their unaided arm, Or helped by friends, or softly climbing up By the sweet aid of "woman's influence"; Successful any way, and caring naught For any other woman's unsuccess— These tell us they have all the rights they want. Religious women of the feebler sort— Not the religion of a righteous world, A free, enlightened, upward-reaching world, But the religion that considers life As something to back out of !— whose ideal Is to renounce, submit, and sacrifice. Counting on being patted on the head And given a high chair when they get to heaven— These tell us they have all the rights they want. Ignorant women—college bred sometimes, But ignorant of life's realities And principles of righteous government, And how the privileges they enjoy Were won with blood and tears by those before— Those they condemn, whose ways they now oppose; Saying, "Why not let well enough alone?" Our world is very pleasant as it is"— These tell us they have all the rights they want. And selfish women—pigs in petticoats— Rich, poor, wise, unwise, top or bottom round, But all sublimely innocent of thought, And guiltless of ambition, save the one Deep, voiceless aspiration—to be fed! These have no use for rights or duties more. Duties today are more than they can meet, And law insures their right to clothes and food— These tell us they have all the rights they want. And, more's the pity, some good women too; Good, conscientious women with ideas; Who think—or think they think—that woman's cause Is best advanced by letting it alone; That she somehow is not a human thing, And not to be helped on by human means, Just added to humanity—an "L"— A wing, a branch, an extra, not mankind— These tell us they have all the rights they want. And out of these has come a monstrous thing, A strange, down-sucking whirlpool of disgrace, Women uniting against womanhood, And using that great name to hide their sin! Vain are their words as that old king's command Who set his will against the rising tide. But who shall measure the historic shame Of these poor traitors—traitors are they all— To great Democracy and Womanhood!
This poem is in the public domain.