Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 3: Praying, Joy Harjo, "Eagle Song"

I have been praying a lot this week.  Sometimes my prayers are for my friend Ray.  Sometimes my prayers are for my kids.  I pray for my car to start in the morning when the temperature is twenty below zero.  I pray for patience.  I pray for strength.

Sometimes my prayers are more amorphous.  They don't have a shape.  One of my favorites is "Help me, help me, help me."  Another of my favorites is "Thank you, thank you, thank you."  Prayer is pretty simple.  It's a conversation.  When I drive to work in the morning, I pretty much talk to God all the way.  I say things like "wow, look at that moon" and "I'm tired" and "I hope this day doesn't suck."  God knows my heart.  He understands all my faults and failings.

Joy Harjo understands about prayer.  Pretty much all poets do, I think.  Every poem is a sacred conversation.  Between the poet and God.  The poet and the reader.  Edward Hirsch says reading a poem is like finding a message in a bottle on the beach.  You read it and somehow are changed.

That's what Joy Harjo does.  She changes the world with words.

That's what Saint Marty tries to do, too.

Eagle Song

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 that 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 of 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

Care to open the bottle with me?

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