Words of WonderEagle poem - 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.

by Joy Harjo

This poem, by the current US poet laureate Joy Harjo of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, feels like a beautiful practice instruction to me. There’s something soothing and expansive about the circular motion which seems to wheel through the poem. Letting the huge, spacious circles of the eagle sweep through my heart, cleaning it with ‘sacred wings’ brings such a welcome sensation of being deeply refreshed and made new.

Sometimes I can feel the blessing of being alive, more so when I’m aware of the truth of death, and it’s comforting to see this as part of the great circle of life. To know myself as part of this great circle of coming and going soothes the shadowy presence of my existential anxiety and reduces the importance of my daily agitations.

‘Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed’.

What a wonderful gratitude mantra to take into the day.

Photo by Rachel McDermott on Unsplash