Packing for Syracuse

I'm on my way to Syracuse in a few hours. Packing doesn't become easier. And reality becomes more complex when you open the doors. The basic rules are the same in any realm. Behave. Play nice. Be coherent. Take care of your gifts. Take care of each other. Acknowledge the source of the gifts, the source of the story. Don't take everything, leave something. Share.

The elections are over. The country is still splintered. It all goes back to the quality of leadership. And leadership is responsibility of all of us. We can't duck out. (Though we can duke it out. Won't solve anything. I know.)

The personal story is reflected in the larger story, and vice versa.

Here's a poem for the day, from How We Became Human, New and Selected Poems:


I must keep from breaking into the story by force,
If I do I will find a war club in my hand
And the smoke of grief staggering toward the sun,
Your nation dead beside you.

I keep walking away though it has been an eternity
And from each drop of blood
Springs up sons and daughters, trees
A mountain of sorrows, of songs.

I tell you this from the dusk of a small city in the north
Not far from the birthplace of cars and industry.
Geese are returning to mate and crocuses have
Broken through the frozen earth.

Soon they will come for me and I will make my stand
Before the jury of destiny. Yes, I will answer in the clatter
Of the new world, I have broken my addiction to war
And desire. Yes, I will reply, I have buried the dead

And made songs of the blood, the marrow.

c Joy Harjo
W.W. Norton

1 comment:

karen in syracuse said...

Thank you again for coming to Syracuse. I've enjoyed your poetry for many years now, and as a saxophone player myself, it was a real treat to hear you in that beautiful building.

Some years ago I read one of your books and had this in answer:

Healing the Western Soul
for Joy Harjo

Finally, lying with nothing
but your voice and the fan's breeze
against my skin
on a hot September night
I see the map you are drawing
through the walls of my intestine.
There is science in my head,
breath in my chest,
but there is food in my belly.
I have spent a long summer
trying to reach it
so that I would not die of starvation.
I am not afraid and do not attempt
to apologize for the history you are charting
but listen, memorize the legend.

There is metaphysics in my head,
a beating heart in my chest,
but there is food in my belly.
In the thick of Indian summer
I promise the air that I will reach it
and live to change this world.