Archives for posts with tag: prayer

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How to Pray
by Julene Waffle

Go toward water.
Baptize your toes.
Stand amidst the trees
and tilt your chin to the canopy.
Hold your arms out
like the maples and oaks around you.
Close your eyes until
you feel as if you are floating.
Let the sun freckle your face golden.
Breathe Breathe
to the rhythm of the wind on the pond.
Then slowly flex your fists open and closed
as if flapping tiny wings, grasping air,
holding a child’s hand then letting go.
Silently open your mouth to let
the sighing of wind in leaves and the earth’s
groaning pleasure fill you
with pregnant letterless words.

IMAGE: The Face of Peace IV by Pablo Picasso (1950).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I find inspiration and stress relief in nature. The whole of the natural world inspires me and encourages me to stay positive whenever life becomes dark and cloudy. It focuses me. I try to capture the beauty of this gift of Earth and life as best as I can through language. This poem is how I feel every time I allow myself time to revel in nature’s beauty; it is my physical way of saying thank you to God or whatever higher power you might believe in.

Waffle

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julene Waffle is a teacher in a rural New York State public school, an entrepreneur, a wife, a mother of three busy boys, and a writer. Her work has appeared in La Pressa, The English Journal, among other journals, and in the anthologies Civilization in Crisis and Seeing Things: Anthology of Poetry  and a chapbook So I Will Remember.  She finds inspiration in nature and her family, which includes her dogs. Visit her at wafflepoetry.com and on Twitter @JuleneWaffle.

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EAGLE POEM
by Joy Harjo

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
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joy Harjo (born May 9, 1951) is a Native American poet, musician, and author. Known primarily as a poet, Harjo has also taught at the college level, played alto saxophone with a band called Poetic Justice, edited literary journals, and written screenplays. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Cherokee descent, she is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. In 1995, Harjo received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. In 2002, Harjo received the PEN Open Book Award for A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales. Harjo joined the faculty of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January 2013. (Read more at wikipedia.org.) Visit Joy Harjo at joyharjo.com.

“Eagle Poem” appears in Joy Harjo’s collection In Mad Love and War.(Wesleyan University Press, 1990), available at Amazon.com.

Author Photo: Joy Harjo, Albuquerque, 1975, by LaVerne Harrell Clark, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Illustration: “Eagle Flight,” watercolor (detail) by The Rose Palette (therosepalette.net).

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EAGLE POEM
by Joy Harjo

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
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joy Harjo (born May 9, 1951) is a Native American poet, musician, and author. Known primarily as a poet, Harjo has also taught at the college level, played alto saxophone with a band called Poetic Justice, edited literary journals, and written screenplays. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Cherokee descent, she is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. In 1995, Harjo received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. In 2002, Harjo received the PEN Open Book Award for A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales. Harjo joined the faculty of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January 2013. (Read more at wikipedia.org.) Visit Joy Harjo at joyharjo.com.

“Eagle Poem” appears in Joy Harjo’s collection In Mad Love and War. (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), available at Amazon.com.

Author Photo: Joy Harjo, Albuquerque, 1975, by LaVerne Harrell Clark, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Illustration: “Eagle Flight,” watercolor (detail) by The Rose Palette (therosepalette.net).

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THE SUMMER DAY
By Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

…From New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press, 1992) © 1992, Mary Oliver, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Illustration: “Grasshopper,” interchangeable jewelry available for just $2.37 from obrose.com.