This week I’ve been reading the wise, soulful, jazz-laced collection of Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolutions for Holy Beings (2015). The collection blends prose, poetry, jazz (Harjo is also a saxophonist), history, contemporary life, nature, and calls to the soul.
Harjo, born in 1951, is a poet and writer of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Many of her poems laud a connection to the natural and spirit worlds with a blend of simple diction and expansive ideas that ask us to acknowledge grievous wrongs, reach beyond the quotidian, and “Ask for forgiveness.”
This week’s poem exhorts us to turn from “that bag of potato chips,” “that cellphone,” and “Take a breath offered by friendly winds.” But we don’t stop with the inhale, for we are then to “Give it back with gratitude.”
Here is an excerpt and link to the poem at poets.org where it appears with permission.
Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return
in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be
happy to be found after being lost for so long…
Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way
through the dark.
The photograph this week is one I took from our rental car window when we were commuting between Kapa’a and Lihui for a writing workshop last November on Kaua’i. It was the first time my husband and I had been to any of the Hawaiian islands, and we were overwhelmed by poems for our eyes at every turn.