Sunday, March 16, 2008


Some days I can't stand to open the newspaper. Today I sat down in front of my bookshelf to begin.

I came to one of my favorite books -- An anthology of Native American Literature I got in college.

I kept finding myself wanting to use a search engine on my books -- but as this is impossible, I went back to the computer.

I googled Yusef Komunyakaa, oil and poems together -- I don't know why him... He's one of my favorites. Seemed likely oil might have crossed his lips -- he writes about the earth -- and about war -- and about people...

I found this:

You and I are Disappearing -- Bjorn Hakansson

The cry I bring down from the hills
belongs to a girl still burning
inside my head. At daybreak

she burns like a piece of paper.

She burns like foxfire
in a thigh-shaped valley.
A skirt of flames
dances around her
at dusk.

We stand with our hands

hanging at our sides,
while she burns

like a sack of dry ice.

She burns like oil on water.
She burns like a cattail torch
dipped in gasoline.
She glows like the fat tip
of a banker's cigar,
silent as quicksilver.
A tiger under a rainbow
at nightfall.
She burns like a shot glass of vodka.
She burns like a field of poppies
at the edge of a rain forest.
She rises like dragonsmoke
to my nostrils.
She burns like a burning bush
driven by a godawful wind.

You can hear him read it here. I love his readings. He is a veteran of the Vietnam war.

Yesterday I wrote about healing -- or lack there of. About the fact that we can disrupt our own healing down to the cellular level...

and then a friend, a spiritual healer, wrote me out of the blue. I don't think she'd read my post yesterday -- just knew to write.

So there is also healing in the world -- on the energy level. The through the air and the spirit level.

Another poem -- this one from my bookshelf.

The Remedies

Half on the earth, half in the heart,
the remedies for all the things
which grieve us wait for those who know
the words to use to find them.

Penobscot people used to make
a medicine for cancer from mayapples
and South American people knew
the quinine cure for malaria
a thousand years ago.

But it is not just in the roots,
the stems, the leaves,
the thousand flowers
that healing lies.
Half of it lives within the words
the healer speaks.

And when the final time has come
for one to leave this Earth
there are no cures,
for Death is only
Part of live, not a disease.

Half on the Earth, half in the heart,
the remedies for all our pains
wait for the songs of healing.

by Joseph Bruchae
The Remembered Earth
ed. Geary Hobson,
University of New Mexico Press, 1979

This post is for Kim.

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