MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

Last week, when Joy Harjo was named the next US Poet Laureate, history was made: she became the first Native American to hold this honorary title. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is a widely published and anthologized poet whose writing draws on imagery and themes from indigenous culture. In interviews, she has spoken of her poems as works that both come from and have the ability to heal the soul--which is a wonderful way of thinking of all poetry. This "first" is definitely long overdue and worthy of celebration and recognition, so I wanted to share one of my favorite Joy Harjo poems, "Eagle Poem." It captures a vision of the "circles of motion" that are our lives, reminding us that life's beauty comes from opening ourselves to something greater and holding ourselves responsible for "the utmost care and kindness in all things."

Eagle Poem
by Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can't see, can't hear;

Can't know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren't always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

If you have a poem by Joy Harjo or any other poet to share for summer reading, please do so in the comments on the blog.

Kress, Anne
Office of the President