Grief's Companion: War - November 2017

From Shaman's Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood


The death of children amidst the cross fire of ideas is evil's

grandest gesture. Not even the loss of love nor a

summer without flowers creates a grief as deep

As the theft of children's laughter. No horror speaks as loudly

as the final cries of children, who, like birds,

seek to spread their wings even when the sky bleeds

Dead dreams. In these dark moments, the Earth's great heart


Stops beating. In the void that evil leaves behind, a question

arises: If fools make war on innocence,

then who becomes grief's companion?


A single shaft of sunlight, falling on a drop of blood. A bird

rising higher than danger. A blade of grass, defiantly green

after fire wipes clean the face of desire. But most of all,

Music created by children's tears.


Nancy's Thoughts: Poems as Rituals and Connections with Nature

From the preface to Shaman's Circle, her sixth book of poetry, 1996:


"Most of us non-Indians are out of touch with the magic of the seasons, the subtle rhythms of the earth, and the daily blessings of the natural world. We hardly notice birds building nests, green leaves budding, or the way a river swells with life in spring. We are too busy to care. But care we must, for we are inextricably tied to nature, and to one another. We have to rediscover ritual and, in so doing, rediscover ourselves. We need to strengthen our bonds with nature, every day of the year. Few of us greet the rising sun or bid it farewell at sunset; not many of us howl at the moon, nor do we sing to rainclouds, growing corn, or the death spirit. We have drifted away from our roots, and melancholy prevails. Now we must reestablish contact with our sacred center and invent rituals that have personal meaning.

These poems are a ritual in themselves. They're meant to be read in private, preferably under a tree or beside a stream. They're meant to trigger a desire to get up and dance. Or to sing. Or to write a poem of your own as you enter the shaman's sacred circle, where anything can happen."


The Earth Is All That Lasts - October 2017

Nancy Wood poem poster 14 - The earth is all that lasts

From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood


The earth is all that lasts.

The earth is what I speak to when

I do not understand my life

Nor why I am not heard.

The earth answers me with the same song

That it sang for my fathers when

Their tears covered up the sun.

The earth sings a song of gladness.

The earth sings a song of praise.

The earth rises up and laughs at me

Each time that I forget

How spring begins with winter

And death begins with birth.


Love - September 2017

From Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood


Listen to the song! Jen Myzel, a singer/songwriter who "sings of personal and planetary healing," has created a song of this poem. Thank you, Jen!


For us, my love,

The faraway moon laughed

And breathed a new song

For all the earth to hear.


For us, my love,

The stars deserted the sky

And became a silver pathway

To our dreams.


For us, my love,

Time made a ladder out of grass

To show us to our happiness.


For us, my love,

Beauty encircled two lives and

Love created one horizon.


You Shall Ask - August 2017


Nancy Wood poem poster 3: You shall ask

Poem poster includes Nancy Wood's photograph of Fort Union Ranch, NM, circa 1980.


From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood


You shall ask

What good are dead leaves

And I will tell you

They nourish the sore earth.

You shall ask

What reason is there for winter

And I will tell you

To bring about new leaves.

You shall ask

Why are the leaves so green

And I will tell you

Because they are rich with life.

You shall ask

Why must summer end

And I will tell you

So that the leaves can die.


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