Anniversary Poem By Joy Harjo

Anniversary Poem By Joy Harjo

When the world was created wasn’t it like this?
A little flame illuminating a rough sea, a question
of attraction, something fermented, something sweet?

And then a bird or two were added, the crow of course to
joke about humanity, and then another kind so beautiful
we had to hear them first, before our eyes could be imagined.

And it was, we were then—and there was no separation.
The cries of a planet formed our becoming.
We peered through the smoke as our shoulders, lips,
emerged from new terrain.

The question mark of creation attracts more questions
until the mind is a spiral of gods strung out way over
our heads, traveling toward the invention of sky.
Move over and let us sleep until the dust settles,
until we can figure this thing out.

What was created next is open to speculation or awe.
The shy fish who had known only water
walked out of the ocean onto dry land,
just like that, to another life.

Frog imagined meals of flying things and creatures in flight imagined hills,
of daubed dirt and grass in which to settle and make others
to follow in their knowledge which they were building
as sure as houses on the tangled web.

And in that manner we became—elegance of fire, the waving grass.
And it’s been years.

Joy Harjo
from A Map to the Next World

Anniversary Poem By Joy Harjo

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