Nancy's best friend, John Eastham, passed away this month. Some of his last words were, "I have had such a wonderful life." John was a sunbeam for all who knew him.
Gathering Sunbeams, from Dancing Moons, Delacorte Press, 1995, by Nancy Wood
The way to gather sunbeams is carefully, making sure
they do not break or become
mere shadows of your uncertainty.
The way to gather sunbeams is hopefully, bending
to catch the light between your fingers
before storm clouds devour opportunity.
The way to gather sunbeams is crazily, putting
them in your pocket if you catch any,
laughing at their feeling of mobility.
The way to gather sunbeams is joyfully, keeping
step with the dance they do across the earth,
drawing you into their world of fragility.
Two of Nancy's grandchildren enter college this month as freshmen. This poem is for Ryan and Charles.
Migration, from Dancing Moons, Delacorte Press, 1995, by Nancy Wood
Going from this place to another place
requires surrender of your old ways,
the honoring of sacred wisdom and not
anticipation of the journey only. The soul's
Migration between the old place and the new means
that you must recognize your path
to an unknown destination, risking all
with the chance of gaining nothing. You are merely
The connection between growth and suffocation,
the link that joins possibility to pain,
and thus you become the keeper of your own flame.
Going from this place to another place is like
the bird in winter who remembers
the beauty of her springtime nest
just to keep herself from freezing.
Nancy's daughter, Kate Lynch, chose this poem.
I am a Woman, from Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood
I am a woman.
I hold up half of the sky.
I am a woman.
I nourish half of the earth.
I am a woman.
The rainbow touches my shoulders.
The universe encircles my eyes.
Today would have been Nancy's 78th birthday. This poem is from the last page of her final book of poetry, We Became as Mountains.
Full Circle, from We Became as Mountains, Western Edge Press, 2008, by Nancy Wood
Some say the world is dying,
but I don't believe them.
There is always something good to see.
My ancestors would not have given up.
I, in my modern house, cannot give up either.
To give up is to die.
My voice goes on
and I fight like a warrior for
creatures who cannot speak.
The voices of turtles and falcons are within me,
and I must put myself in Brother Bear's skin.
The end is the beginning. The full circle
of my life is nothing more
than one footstep going on.
This poem was chosen by India Wood, Nancy's daughter, in honor of Mother's Day.
A Woman's Lesson, from Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood
A woman's lesson is a simple lesson:
Whatever life asks, answer with love.
A woman's lesson is a wise lesson:
Whenever conflict threatens, go forth in harmony.
A woman's lesson is an enduring lesson:
Whatever is taken from you, give back in generosity.
A woman's lesson is a gradual lesson:
Whenever there is a storm, remain a calm center.
A woman's lesson is a courageous lesson:
Whenever there is despair, sow the seed of hope.
A woman’s lesson is a practical lesson:
Wherever there is dryness, go and get the rain