Wednesday, April 26, 2017

National Poetry Month: Joy Harjo

"Ah Ah"
for Lurline McGregor

Ah, ah cries the crow arching toward the heavy sky over the marina.
Lands on the crown of the palm tree.
Ah, ah slaps the urgent cove of ocean swimming through the slips.
We carry canoes to the edge of the salt.
Ah, ah groans the crew with the weight, the winds cutting skin.
We claim our seats. Pelicans perch in the draft for fish.
Ah, ah beats our lungs and we are racing into the waves.
Though there are worlds below us and above us, we are straight ahead.
Ah, ah tattoos the engines of your plane against the sky—away from these waters.
Each paddle stroke follows the curve from reach to loss.
Ah, ah calls the sun from a fishing boat with a pale, yellow sail. We fly by
on our return, over the net of eternity thrown out for stars.
Ah, ah scrapes the hull of my soul. Ah, ah.

"Ah, Ah" originally appeared in  How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems:1975-2001. Joy Harjo 's most recent collection is Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (2015). Harjo is the first Native {Creek] to win the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, which bestows the honor annually “to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.” In a 2015 interview, she comments that "I came to realize that as poets we just write songs. So, we have to take it all on, these stages of life, every seven years, create community, be creative, and make art. You have to open up, accept frailty, failure, there’s really no failure, you’re learning, it’s like sketches. You are giving back, like breathing, like life, like death, you take that place in the circle, part of the gift is to give back. And you are really giving forward."

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