6
Mar

Solitude - March 2015

 

This poem reminded Nancy's daughter Kate of the solitude Nancy needed to write her books.

 

Solitude, from Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood

 

Do not be afraid to embrace the arms

of loneliness.

Do not be concerned with the thorns

of solitude.

Why worry that you will miss something?

 

Learn to be at home with yourself

without a hand to hold.

Learn to endure isolation

with only the stars for friends.

 

Happiness

comes from understanding unity.

Love

arrives on the footprints of your fear.

Beauty

arises from the ashes of despair.

Solitude

brings the clarity of still waters.

Wisdom

completes the circle of your dreams.

4
Feb

Why the Great Spirit Made Hands - February 2015

 

Here is an unusual love poem by Nancy, chosen for February, the month of Valentine's Day.

 

Why the Great Spirit Made Hands, from Shaman's Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

The Great Spirit made hands before he made

eyes or feet, so people could learn to hold

one another. Hands were useful for touching

the hard ribs of trees or the soft tongues of flower petals.

Hands discovered the dry uncertainty of snakes, the

slipperiness of fish, the mystery of feathers. Hands found

Other hands and clasped together to embrace the oncoming world,

unafraid. Two pairs of hands, burned by fire and cooled

by water, felt their way along unfamiliar paths and then

reached out and found they needed one another

to make a home in the wilderness of their minds.

1
Jan

Reaching Back from Here - January 2015

 

This seems a good poem for the end of one year and the start of the next.

 

Reaching Back from Here, from Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood

 

Reaching back from here

All that I remember of my life

Are the great round rocks and not

The unimportant stones.

I know that I experienced pain and yet

The scars have healed so that

I am like the tree covering itself

With new growth every year.

I know that I walked in sadness and yet

All that I remember now

Is the soothing autumn light.

I know that there was much to make my life unhappy

If I had stopped to notice how

The world sings a broken song.

But I preferred to dwell within

A universe of fields and streams

Which echoed the wholeness of my song.

1
Dec

Ten Million Stars - December 2014

 

Look upward some evening in December, the month of the longest starry nights.

 

Ten Million Stars, from Spirit Walker, Doubleday, 1993, by Nancy Wood

 

Inside each raindrop swims the sun.

Inside each flower breathes the moon.

Inside me dwell ten million stars,

One for each of my ancestors:

The elk, the raven, the mouse, the man,

The flower; the coyote, the lion, the fish.

Ten million different stars am I,

But only one spirit, connecting all.

5
Nov

When Trouble Comes to Me - November 2014

 

 

Nancy wrote this poem around 1971, after her second marriage had crumbled and she was a single mother with four children and a writer's income.

 

When Trouble Comes to Me, from Hollering Sun, 1972, by Nancy Wood

 

When trouble comes to me

I have to go and dance.

I dance until the dust receives my trouble.

The dust takes my trouble to the mountain.

The mountain grows with the dust of trouble.

The place for my trouble to be.