“This Morning I Pray for My Enemies” is a beautiful poem to greet the morning, the morning of the wise heart, the heart that is able to see both injustice and love, that is able to feel both anger and blessing. It does not ask us necessarily to forgive, but it does ask that we come from the heart and that we are fierce both in our love and our commitment to what is right. The poem asks that we pay attention to what matters.

This Morning I Pray for My Enemies
Joy Harjo

And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.

Writing Prompts Inspired by This Morning I Pray for My Enemies

Write a poem that uses or comes from this line: “It’s the heart that asks the question, not the furious mind.”

Joy Harjo doesn’t name the enemies in “This Morning I Pray For My Enemies.” The poem becomes at once personal and universal, individual and also social. We all have enemies that are particular to us as individuals and also larger structural enemies. How do we meet them?

Please leave your comments and thoughts below!

To read more morning poems, or poems of transition of any kind, come on over to my blog post with 15 great morning poems.

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