Sept 10 – Mary Tobacco and Joy Harjo

Tuesday, September 10  “Talking with the Sun” & “The high plains of Pine Ridge, SD”

Mary, a Lakota soul friend, and Joy Harjo, National Poet Laureate, are friends.   They share a love of the land and sky, an intimate understanding of the beauty and the wearing fatigue of poverty so often marked with deep racism but also with the mystical surprises that close family ties offer.   This morning, I was listening for a voice I had not heard recently.   I found Joy Harjo, soul friend and strong poet.  Two years ago, she sent me a new book, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.   On September 2, 2016, I found my first poem there, “Talking with the Sun.”  How does a grandmother carry her fourth granddaughter out into the sun on a rainy New York Times Square morning?

You could read the poem with pauses.   Or you may imagine driving along that highway as the sunset shows off a front being pushed East by the storm’s energy.

Have a blest week,


john sj


Today’ Post   Joy Harjo  “Talking with the Sun”

I believe in the sun.
In the tangle of human failures of fear, greed, and
forgetfulness, the sun gives me clarity.
When explorers first encountered my people, they called us
heathens, sun worshippers.
They didn’t understand that the sun is a relative, and
illuminates our path on this earth.

After dancing all night in a circle we realize that we are a
part of a larger sense of stars and planets dancing with us
When the sun rises at the apex of the ceremony, we are
There is no mistaking this connection, though Walmart
might be just down the road.
Humans are vulnerable and rely on the kindnesses of the
earth and sun; we exist together in a sacred field of

Our earth is shifting.  We can all see it.
I hear from my Inuit and Yupik relatives up north that
everything has changed.  It’s so hot; there is not enough
Animals are confused. Ice is melting.

The quantum physicists have it right; they are beginning to
think like Indians: everything is connected dynamically
at an intimate level.
When you remember this, then the current wobble of the
earth makes sense.  How much more oil can be drained,
Without replacement; without reciprocity?

I walked out of a hotel room just off Times Square at dawn
to find the sun.
It was the fourth morning since the birth of my fourth
This was the morning I was to present her to the sun, as a
relative, as one of us.  It was still dark, overcast as I walked
through Times Square.
I stood beneath a twenty-first century totem pole of symbols
of multinational corporations, made of flash and neon.

The sun rose up over the city but I couldn’t see it amidst the
Though I was not at home, bundling up the baby to carry
her outside,
I carried this newborn girl within the cradleboard of my
I held her up and presented her to the sun, so she would be
recognized as a relative,
So that she won’t forget this connection, this promise,
So that we all remember, the sacredness of life.

Joy Harjo

Highway 18,  Pine Ridge, SD  sunset with a storm front

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