I give to you this life – December 2021

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

 

I give to you this life

which is not the only life I have.

I am the forest living and dying.

I am the melancholy of falling leaves.

I am eternity in green.

I am water flowing strongly

Not in the lifetime of one man only

But down the rocks of generation

Across old deserts of humiliation

I run in anticipation toward the sea.

I give to you this life

which is the outer garment only.

I have clothed myself in riches

Sewn by hands in praise of home.

I am made of pollen and wings and bone.

I am wind reflected in moonlight.

I am ice crying out for food.

I am fire embedded in stone.

I am fields released by sun.

I give to you this life

claimed by what I do not own.

 

Knowing the Earth – May 2018

From Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood

 

To know the Earth on a first-name basis

You must know the meaning of river stones first.

Find a place that calls to you and there

Lie face down in the grass until you feel

Each plant alive with the mystery of beginnings.

Move in a circle until you discover an insect

Crawling with knowledge in its heart.

Examine a newborn leaf and find a map of a universe

So vast that only Eagles understand.

Observe the journey of an ant and imitate its path

Of persistence in a world of bigger things.

Borrow a cloud and drift high above the Earth,

Looking down at the smallness of your life.

The journey begins on a path made of your old mistakes.

The journey continues when you call the Earth by name.

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.

 

Invitation to Life – May 2017

From Dancing Moons, 1995, by Nancy Wood

 

I invite you to life

and you send regrets.

Sorry can’t come, too late or

too soon, too busy, too scared,

Too much involved in the business of living.

 

The reasons you give

are a song all their own.

off-key and shallow, with the sound

of avoidance, the rhythm

Familiar, the words echoing the same old excuses.

 

I’ll issue no more invitations

to you. The party’s been

cancelled, the guests won’t arrive

in time to find me having

 

A dance all my own. You see,

 

I invited myself to my life

and finally accepted.