Ode to Joy Harjo

She writes of the sacred land,
red earth cherished by Creek Nation.

Moencopi Rise, Round Rock,
Four Corners, a dreaming place of bears.
Her words are songs of praise
to ochre soil, parched sand,
grey rocks, and dust spattered plants.
Her faith in the whole,
revealed in full and sliver moon
steady and flickering stars.

Prayer is manifest
as horses gallop through hills.
Words written in linear lines
paint images revered by generations.
Her poetic spirit soars.
An eagle spreads its wings,
magnificently embracing
the bluest of skies.

She is those who were before her,
caretakers of Mother Earth all.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Late for the Tuesday Poetics prompt given by Laura. She asks us to consider poems to a poet. I decided to write an ode to poet Joy Harjo.

JOY HARJO is a member of the Creek Nation. She is a screen writer, poet, and teaches creative writing and Native American Literature at the University of Arizona. She has received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Harjo served as United States poet laureate from 2019-2021, and was the first Native American to serve in the position.

Image from Pixabay.com

14 thoughts on “Ode to Joy Harjo

  1. Helen Dehner May 19, 2021 / 12:34 pm

    Lillian, this is exquisite ~~~ thank you for the notes.

    Like

  2. Ingrid May 19, 2021 / 12:42 pm

    I love the broad poetic landscape you cross here Lillian, those names:

    ‘Moencopi Rise, Round Rock,
    Four Corners, a dreaming place of bears.’

    I want to read Joy Harjo’s poetry now. I will be coming back to this prompt to familiarise myself with many of the poets I have been introduced to!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. msjadeli May 19, 2021 / 12:52 pm

    You picked a good poet to honor and you did it so very well, Lillian.

    Like

  4. Ken / rivrvlogr May 19, 2021 / 1:04 pm

    All of this, but especially your second stanza and fourth stanzas capture her essence.

    Like

  5. robtkistner May 19, 2021 / 2:06 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to a fascinating person. I now MUST become familiar with her, thank you for the introduction Lillian! 😉

    Like

  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 19, 2021 / 3:07 pm

    This prompt is like an encyclopedia of poets, and I have never heard of her before… I love the area you describe and have traveled there as a tourist a few times…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tricia Sankey May 19, 2021 / 3:45 pm

    So cool to learn of new poets this week. Her poetry sounds like it would be an adventure to read! I like your ending lines, “She is those who were before her, caretakers of Mother Earth all.” 🌻

    Like

  8. Susan Joy Clark May 19, 2021 / 5:29 pm

    I’m not that familiar with Joy Harjo, but I love all of your phrases here that are descriptive of nature. 🙂

    Like

  9. sanaarizvi May 19, 2021 / 5:47 pm

    Oh this is incredibly potent, Lillian! You have infused this tribute poem with so much love and admiration, I feel it especially in these lines; “Prayer is manifest as horses gallop through hills.
    Words written in linear lines paint images revered by generations. Her poetic spirit soars. An eagle spreads its wings, magnificently embracing the bluest of skies.” 💝💝💝

    Like

  10. kim881 May 20, 2021 / 3:37 am

    Lill, I’m so glad you chose to write your ode to Joy Harjo – and that your title could have been ‘Ode to Joy’, which made me smile as I enjoy Beethoven. I love the landscape you paint in the lines:
    ‘…ochre soil, parched sand,
    grey rocks, and dust spattered plants’,
    where ‘horses gallop through hills’, contrasted with the ‘full and sliver moon’ and ‘steady and flickering stars’ I also love the place names and the thought that it is a ‘dreaming place of bears’, a place where ‘an eagle spreads its wings’.

    Like

  11. areadingwriter May 20, 2021 / 5:38 am

    Reading about her for the first time and felt her nature-loving soul through you. Ah the beauty of your images, and the profoundness of this: She is those who were before her.

    Like

  12. Laura Bloomsbury May 20, 2021 / 9:29 am

    Lilian this was worth the wait – a wonderful dreamweaver of words to your poet (new to me and better still)

    Like

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