Joy Harjo’s “Eagle Poem”

Joy Harjo
Nadia Colburn // November 27, 2019 // 2 Comments

People have widely different experiences of Thanksgiving, which can bring up all kinds of things.

I want to share a poem by Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation and the current national poet laureate.

In our complicated history and nation, I like to return to Joy Harjo’s poetry on Thanksgiving.

From all the confusion of our history and of our present, may we stay centered in the great circle of being and becoming and in the great wisdom of beauty.

I sometimes struggle with gratitude—which can sometimes feel like it perpetuates the status quo and keep us unquestioning (I won’t even go into the weirdness of the traditional Thanksgiving story). But when I open myself to the earth and our connection to life, I can feel the true power of appreciation and wonder.

May we use our steady presence and our voices to be beacons in these times. Let us stay connected and tethered to 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.


with love,
Nadia

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  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.

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