From Sacred Fire, 1998, by Nancy Wood
Rainbows still live in the sky and green grass
is growing everywhere. Clouds have familiar shapes
and sunsets have not changed color in a long time. Thunder
still follows lightning and spring comes after winter's misery.
A tree is still a tree and a rock is still a rock. A warbler
sings its familiar song and coyotes howl
in disconcerting harmony. Grasshoppers still hop
to their own music,
bees still buzz with excitement, and squirrels
still jump like acrobats. Mountains still contain mystery
and oceans surge with eternity. Bears still sleep in winter
and eagles fly higher than other birds. Snakes have an affinity
for the ground, while fish
are content in water. Patterns persist,
life goes on, whatever rises will converge.
Do what you will, but strengthen the things that remain.
From War Cry on a Prayer Feather, 1979, by Nancy Wood
Be still until the waters clear.
Do nothing until the darkness ends.
Rest until the storm clouds pass.
Wait for winter’s breath to die.
Nature does not fight against itself
Nor does it dance when the music ends.
Rain has returned this spring to New Mexico, Nancy's home for 30 years.
Spirit Walker, title poem from Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood
Spirit Walker, with long legs poking out of rain clouds
Along the mesa tops,
Listen to our prayers for understanding.
Spirit Walker with strong arms embracing the wounded Earth,
We ask forgiveness for our greed.
Spirit Walker, with footsteps echoing like promises
Across the aching land,
Give Fire and Ice to purify us.
Spirit Walker, with tears that fall as Snow and Rain,
Heal our forests and our rivers,
Our homes and the hearts of all creatures.
Spirit Walker, heed the cry of every living thing
And bathe the Earth with harmony.
What I Am I Must Become, from Hollering Sun, 1972, by Nancy Wood
What I am I must become.
What I see I must try to find.
What I hear I must play music to.
What I touch I must leave alone
And turn then to all reflections of myself
In trees and sacred things
That nature gives to me.
Go bury your nose in a crabapple tree's blossoms and forget the snows of winter.
Why Flowers Smell the Way They Do, from Dancing Moons, 1995, by Nancy Wood
When flowers were first invented, they smelled like mud.
Dust shook out of their petals and no one
wanted to be around them for very long,
the rose especially. It smelled like dead leaves.
In those days there were order and grace
and predictability. Except for flowers,
beautiful yet unnoticed, things were what
they were intended to be. Birds were just birds and
Trees were just trees. Caterpillars crawled along
and the meadowlark could be counted on to sing
the way he was supposed to. Flowers refused
to smell good because they thought no one loved them.
So it was, for a long time. Then one day a beautiful
girl picked a wild rose and put it in her hair,
so boys would admire her as she passed by.
Sniff, sniff, they went, and turned to watch her.
One boy said: The smell of that wild rose makes me
want to fall in love. The other boys came closer
and smelled the rose. They all agreed. The flower
smelled sweet and made them fall in love, too.
From that day on, flowers began to smell the way they do now.
Especially the wild rose, worn in a pretty girl's hair.