the re-discovery of my inspiration

As I look through the books of poetry I have, most of which have dog-ears on the pieces that most spoke to me however long ago, it occurs to me how influenced I was by so many of these poems that I plan to share with you with over the month. This next one in particular, when I re-read it before getting ready to post, I was kind of happily surprised at the discovery of inspiration that perhaps unwittingly made it into many of my own pieces.

But before the post, just a quick update on what’s happening with me. I’ve been battling a cold all week (it started Saturday night) and it’s in the coughing phase, the kind when you feel like you might choke, the kind that you can cough so hard to bring tears to your eyes. Not fun. And last night, I just couldn’t sleep. Not necessarily from the cold, though that was part of it, but I was just awake, suddenly around 3:30 am. I watched some TV, I read a little bit. But that was weird, not in character for me. I plan to take it easy most of this weekend, though tomorrow, we’re going up to a barbecue being hosted by some friends of Han’s from high school. And speaking of Han, if only I’d seen this in time to get it for his birthday.

Enjoy today’s poem and the rest of your day!

Summer Night
by Joy Harjo

The moon is nearly full,

the humid air sweet like melon.

Flowers that have cupped the sun all day

dream of iridescent wings

under the long dark sleep.

Children’s invisible voices call out

in the glimmering moonlight.

Their parents play worn-out records

of the cumbia. Behind the screen door

their soft laughter swells

into the rhythm of a smooth guitar.

I watch the world shimmer

inside this globe of a summer night,

listen to the wobble of her

spin and dive. It happens all the time, waiting for you

to come home.

There is an ache that begins

in the sound of an old blues song.

It becomes a house where all the lights have gone out

but one.

And it burns and burns

until there is only the blue smoke of dawn

and everyone is sleeping in someone’s arms

even the flowers

even the sound of a thousand silences.

And the arms of night

in the arms of day.

Everyone except me.

But then the smell of damp honeysuckle twisted on the vine.

And the turn of the shoulder

of the ordinary spirit who keeps watch

over this ordinary street.

And there you are, the secret

of your own flower of light

blooming in the miraculous dark.

from In Mad Love and War

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