The Shortest Day/The Longest Day – June 2022

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

December 21

O sun, the father of us all, maker of ripe flowers, creator

of fat corn, return this day to our part of the shrinking sky.

Your journey to the south is now complete and we pray to you

to remember the drear, dark days of winter caught between

Your strong fingers struggling to release the earth from sleep. In this

long gasp of icy silence, all creatures find renewal, a pale hope

That spring will not forget to come this year, nor will birds forget to lay eggs

heavy with the yolk of generation.

 

June 21

Now the earth lies panting in the rich blood of summer, and you are content,

O sun, father of full orchards and the restlessness of elk. We observe

Your deep shadows and hear the laughter of leaves green with continuity,

but we are not deceived by the smoothness of our ripe landscape.

Even the longest day contains the seeds of winter and on the wind we hear

the song that icicles sing to stay awake. The longest day is merely

A pause between the places where our lives are lived, and in its fullness

we dance for the right of bumblebees to gather distant honey.

Book Released May 16! The Selected Poems of Nancy Wood

The Nancy Wood Literary Trust has published My Help Is in the Mountain: The Selected Poems of Nancy Wood. Order your copy on Amazon today. Search for “Nancy Wood nature poetry”.

This book gathers legendary Southwestern author Nancy Wood’s most enduring poems about divine nature, the strength of women, love, family, and loss.

Praise for Spirit Walker: “This beautiful volume provides serenity, contemplation, and spiritual richness, experiences that are all too rare in this clamorous age.” –School Library Journal

Praise for Sacred Fire: “Wood writes affectingly about the interconnectedness of the people and the natural world, about the Sacred Fire that symbolizes their spirit, about the demon of progress, and about the need to strengthen the things that remain.” –Booklist

Feather – May 2022

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

The bluebird and I were friends, the kind that depend on one another

to reaffirm life’s patterns and to embrace the cleansing wind.

He awakened me with a song each morning and in his voice I recognized

his wider experience of rising above difficulty to reach

The purity of clouds and wind and sun. In my garden I offered him

water and seed and acceptance, never knowing if he understood

My simple gifts were meant to praise him. Then one day upon the ground

I noticed a single bluebird feather. What deeper gift can a bird

Give than what enables him to fly? Or to sing the song of his creation

to me, forever rooted to the ground?

Letting Go – April 2022

From Wild Love, 1996, by Nancy Wood (published only in Japanese)

 

In my middle-aged weariness I lived with the ache

of memory. My days were flushed with shadows

of desire which sent me on paths where I had gone before,

certain each new love would be the last.

 

Who was I, then? A woman who yearned for happiness,

the kind that other people have? A woman with

a shrinking horizon that imprisoned me within

the walls of indecision? I worked as women work,

fearlessly and uncomplaining, knowing

I would survive. Then love came along

 

through the blindness of my fear and touched my heart

with music I’d never heard before. I am too old

for silliness, but I am silly now, too old for love, but love

insists on being recognized. Letting go of loneliness

is easier than holding on to fear. In my twilight years

I gather moonbeams, knowing they are real.

I wish the quiet heart – March 2022

From War Cry on a Prayer Feather, 1979, by Nancy Wood

 

I wish the quiet heart.

Forced to choose a separate world

I crawl in order to stand alone.

I wish the quiet heart.

An exile from my borrowed land

I search for a place to call home.

I wish the quiet heart.

I wish the quiet land.

All around me quiet.

All around me peaceful.

All around me lasting.

All around me home.