Animal Wisdom - March 2018

From Sacred Fire, 1998, by Nancy Wood


At first, the wild creatures were too busy

to explore their natural curiosity until

Turtle crawled up on land. He said:

What's missing is the ability

to find contentment in a slow-paced life.


As the oceans receded, fish sprouted whiskers.

Certain animals grew four legs and were able

to roam from shore to shore. Bear stood

upright and looked around. He said:

What's missing is devotion

to place, to give meaning to passing time.


Mountains grew from fiery heat, while

above them soared birds, the greatest

of which was Eagle, to whom penetrating

vision was given. He said: What's missing

is laughter so that arguments

can be resolved without rancor.


After darkness and light settled their


and the creatures paired up,

people appeared in all the corners of


the world. They said: What's missing

is perception. They began to notice

the beauty hidden

in an ordinary stone,

the short lives of snowflakes,

the perfection of bird wings, and


the way a butterfly speaks

through its fragility. When they realized

they had something in common with animals,

people began saying the same things.

They defended the Earth together,

though it was the animals who insisted

on keeping their own names.


Women, You Must Learn to Be Warriors - February 2018

From Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood


Women, you must learn to be warriors

Now when times are dark and our men

Are afraid to tell us what is in their hearts.

There is so much trouble in our land

That it is up to you to decide

Which direction the wind must blow.


Women, you are our tree of life

Just as you were a long time ago

When a man said: carry my seed.

If you go forth from this darkness,

Telling our story of courage and survival,

Then our tree will grow strong with your words.


Women, do not worry about tomorrow.

Even when daylight is long in coming,

The sun remembers its place in the sky.

Take this blue shawl of knowledge and

Wrap it around your daughters, telling them

That women must not be afraid to be warriors.


Nancy Wood Poem Posters at Innisfree in Boulder

Please stop by the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe on University Hill in Boulder, CO! Eight poem broadsheets of Nancy's poetry and photographs are on display for a couple weeks in January-February 2018.

Special thanks to Brian Buckley and Kate Hunter, owners of Innisfree and our wonderful neighbors to the north.

Broadsheet design by Vicki Hopewell

Nancy Wood poem and photograph selection by India Wood


My People Are a Multitude of One - January 2018

From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood


My people are a multitude of one.

Many voices are within them.

Many lives they have lived as various Beings.

They could have been a bear, a lion, an eagle or even

A rock, a river or a tree.

Who knows?

All of these Beings are within them.

They can use them any time they want.

On some days it is good to be a tree

Looking out in all directions at once.

On some days it is better to be a rock

Saying nothing and blind to everything.

On some days the only thing to do is

To fight fiercely like a lion.

Then, too, there are reasons for being an eagle.

When life becomes too hard here

My people can fly away and see

How small the earth really is.

Then they can laugh and come back home again.


Children of the Sun - December 2017

From Shaman's Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood


May you have life, my children of the sun. May you rise as smoke rises,

and spread yourselves on the wind. In our house, you are always welcome.

In our prayers, you will always hear your name spoken with reverence.


In you is the continuation of the world, both made and unmade. Soon you

must go, for your roots are growing, and your branches are reaching out. Soon

your wings must unfold, so you can stand at the edge of the cliff, learning


How to fly by yourself. You are free, my children of the sun, released from

your familiar place. Our thoughts go with you. Our songs are sung for you.

Our dances are intended to purify your heart. Please, now go.


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