I would like to be a tree – October 2018


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


I would like to be a tree

but you would cut me down.

I would like to be a river

but you would build a dam.

I would like to be a bird

but you would poison what I eat.

I would like to be a deer

but you would shoot me for my meat.

I would like to be a fish

but you would catch me in your net.

I would like to be a coyote

but you would want me for my skin.

I would like to be a grizzly bear

but you would kill me because I’m rare.

I would like to be a flower

but you would pick me to take home.

I would like to be what I am.

Is there any hope for that?

Time takes me on its wing – September 2018

From Hollering Sun, 1972, by Nancy Wood


Time takes me on its wing

and I travel to the sun

And am consumed by fire.

Time takes me on its wing

and I travel to the river

And am drowned in water.

Time takes me on its wing

And I travel into the earth

And am a mountain not yet risen.

Each place that I go

Others have gone before me.

That is why

The sun dances

The wind weeps

The river leaps

And the earth sings.

Neither the sun nor the wind

The river nor the earth

Did these things

Before man was placed in the world

To believe it.

The Peculiar Grace of Men – August 2018

From Wild Love, 1996, by Nancy Wood (unpublished)


He never dances, except with me, in

a swirl of love and half-remembered music

that pours from his lips as he turns me

toward him like a bird. His is not a dancer’s body,

but that of a man accustomed to living life

in the raw. He is clumsy on his feet and cannot

keep rhythm to the simplest tune. The peculiar grace

of men in love saves them from awkwardness,

especially when women don’t notice

the way such creatures

trample on their feet.

Many winters I have lived – July 2018

From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood


Many winters I have lived

Ever since the beginning of time

When the first snow fell

Covering the tired earth

Which played with endless summer.

Many winters I held the water captive

On the tops of many mountains

Still warm from the earth’s beginning

When the moon and the sun gave birth

To one full circle of beauty.

Many winters I blew the stars around

So that the place where each star fell

Was where a river grew

Taking as its course to the sea

The path of the winter sun.

Many winters the trees slept with me

And the animals walked on my breast

Just as the birds drew near

Seeking warmth from my fire

Which took the sting from the night.

Many winters I have been

Companion to the lonely moon

Chasing after the raging sun

Which listened to our song of thanks

Before releasing earth from winter.

Many winters I have lived

Ever since the beginning of time

When out of the melting snow

Came the first frail flower which said

I am the spirit of spring.

Of Mountains and Women – June 2018

From Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood


The hearts of mountains

and the hearts of women

Are both the same. They beat to

an old rhythm, an old song.


Mountains and women

are made from the sinew of the rock.

Mountains and women

are home to the spirits of the earth.

Mountains and women

are created with beauty all around.

Mountains and women

embrace the mystery of life.


Mountains give patience to women.

Women give fullness to mountains.

Celebrate each mountain, each woman.

Sing songs to mountains and to women.

Dance for them in your dreams.


The spirit of mountains and of women

Will give courage to our children

Long after we are gone.