Monday, September 18, 2017

Nancy Wood, Poet of the Earth

Recently I re-discovered the New Mexico poet and photographer   Nancy Wood, who passed away in 2013.  Nancy Wood found a deep sense of spiritual  belonging in nature among the natives peoples of New Mexico, and much of her poetry is a celebration of that belonging.  I've always found comfort and a return to Balance when when I return to her poems, and copy a few here for my own great pleasure.

Hold on to what is good

even if it is 
a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is
a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is
a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when
it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when
I have gone away from you.

From Hollering Sun (1972)

Blue lake of life from which flows everything good.

We rejoice with the spirits beneath your waters.
The lake and the earth and the sky
Are all around us.
The voices of many gods
Are all within us.
We are now as one with rock and tree
As one with eagle and crow
As one with deer and coyote
As one with all things
That have been placed here by the Great Spirit.
The sun that shines upon us
The wind that wipes our faces clean of fear
The stars that guide us on this journey
To our blue lake of life
We rejoice with you.

In beauty it is begun.
In beauty it is begun.
In peace it is finished.
In peace it shall never end.

My help is in the mountain

Where I take myself to heal
The earthly wounds
That people give to me.
I find a rock with sun on it
And a stream where the water runs gentle
And the trees which one by one
give me company.
So must I stay for a long time
Until I have grown from the rock
And the stream is running through me
And I cannot tell myself from one tall tree.
Then I know that nothing touches me
Nor makes me run away.
My help is in the mountain
That I take away with me.

From War Cry on a Prayer Feather, 1979

Earth teach me stillness

As the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
As old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
As blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
As the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
As the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
As the ant who crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
As the eagle who soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
As the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
As the seed which rises in spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
As melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
As dry fields weep with rain.

from Hollering Sun, 1972

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