Thread: Joy Harjo
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Unread 01-09-2020, 06:51 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum's Avatar
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland Maine
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Originally Posted by R. S. Gwynn View Post
The romantic believes that nature will save us; the classicist believes that we must save nature.
Can't speak for Joy, but an obvious question given past categories and actions might be "What do you mean by "us", White Man?

The illness is the idea of nature as object. What is lost and re-imagined in poets like Harjo is the vision of all beings as subjects. That is the only nature. The nature of personhood. Diversity/distinction is housed in the many worlds of the many subjects. So I guess I don't see the categories of that post as relevant to a poet who is coming counter to the underpinnings of that type of "nature".

Yeah, Nemo. The cross-peoples categories of creative and destructive and the relation to balance are how I look at it too. I have been reading NAvajo philosophy for a paper and their category of Hzh (roughly way of beauty) is a more complex unpacking of creative. I will send you a cool book when I am done with it.

Your post rung up this piece by Harjo:

Morning prayers

I have missed the guardian spirit
of Sangre de Cristos,
those mountains
against which I destroyed myself
every morning I was sick
with loving and fighting
in those small years.
In that season I looked up
to a blue conception of faith
a notion of the sacred in
the elegant border of cedar trees
becoming mountain and sky.

This is how we were born into the world:
Sky fell in love with earth, wore turquoise,
cantered in on a black horse.
Earth dressed herself fragrantly,
with regard for aesthetics of holy romance.
Their love decorated the mountains with sunrise,
weaved valleys delicate with the edging of sunset.

This morning I look toward the east
and I am lonely for those mountains
Though Ive said good-bye to the girl
with her urgent prayers for redemption.

I used to believe in a vision
that would save the people
carry us all to the top of the mountain
during the flood
of human destruction.

I know nothing anymore
as I place my feet into the next world
except this:
the nothingness
is vast and stunning,
brims with details
of steaming, dark coffee
ashes of campfires
the bells on yaks or sheep
sirens careening through a deluge
of humans
or the dead carried through fire,
through the mist of baking sweet
bread and breathing.

This is how we will leave this world:
on horses of sunrise and sunset
from the shadow of the mountains
who witnessed every battle
every small struggle.
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