Joy Harjo: “Eagle Poem”

Joy Harjo
Nadia Colburn // November 27, 2019 // 4 Comments

Joy Harjo’ “Eagle Poem” inspired me to come back to what is important.

In “Eagle Poem,” Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation and a former national poet laureate, sets our attention and intentions towards beauty and kindness. 

It is my wish that from all the confusion of our history and of our present, we stay centered in the great circle of being and becoming and in the great wisdom of beauty, knowing and connection.

May we use our steady presence and our voices to be beacons in these times. Let us stay remember what matters. Let us help others, and let us be stewards of this earth that is in such dire imbalance.

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.

Writing Prompts inspired by Joy Harjo's "Eagle Poem"

image of salt river for Joy Harjo's eagle poem

1) Write your own recipe for prayer, with instructions.

2) Choose one feature of the natural world, an animal, plant, river, etc, and write a piece that teaches how to live from the example of that other being. 

3) How does Joy Harjo's "Eagle Poem" affect you? Write a response or dialogue with the poem.


Leave a comment below. I always love to hear from you!

LEAVE A REPLY.   I love to hear from you and do my best to respond to all comments. 

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. I love this poem. How did you get permission to print? From Joy or from the publisher of the book there it appears. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for the poem. Felt like family. Prayer is tricky business for me. Even the word. I can and do express my gratitude by watching clouds and trees and listening to wind and water, rain, or the ocean. Or listening to the crunch of leaves underfoot, all of which promote gratitude, and I hear myself speaking "thank you" or "why". I am moving toward nature as my guide and my homeplace and find I am more accepting of life as it marches by.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Enjoyed this article?

Find more great content here:

The Inspiring Power of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address for 2022

Today I want to share with you the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, which ...

Read More
A list of 50 inspirational topics for writing a poem

There is no one way to approach writing. The process of finding ...

Read More
The Purpose of Poetry

In another post, I wrote about the importance of writing. Today, I ...

Read More
The Inspiring Power of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address for 2022

Today I want to share with you the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, which ...

Read More
A list of 50 inspirational topics for writing a poem

There is no one way to approach writing. The process of finding ...

Read More
The Purpose of Poetry

In another post, I wrote about the importance of writing. Today, I ...

Read More
When Death Comes: A Poem

When Death Comeswhat will I want back? You in bedclose to me. ...

Read More