Sunday Best – June 30, 2019

We have a new Poet Laureate! Joy Harjo, member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is the first Native American to hold this post. I have just begun to read her work, and in the first interview I saw, she noted, “Everything is a living being. Even time, even words.” So now I am working my way through the living beings of her words, meeting her poems. Today I woke at dawn to the crow calling outside my window, stumbled downstairs, and in a curious non-coincidence this is the poem that was waiting for me.

Ah, ah.


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.

– Joy Harjo, from How We Became Human

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