Friday, January 16, 2009


Painting by Grace Sapp


A saxophone moan travels miles here, as does howling.
Today I had a major dent slammed into my self-confidence
and did a little howling myself. Quiet kind.

I do have pride. And this morning I go out with my shame-faced
prayers for my feeling-sorry-for-myself lapse and am amazed again
at the beauty of this time just before the sun comes up
and everyone else is already out celebrating: the butler birds,
doves, Brazilian cardinals, skinks, trees, opening flowers.

There are just some things you can do nothing about,
like the sun coming back and putting a shine on all of it.
Yes, the disappointment is still there.
And yes, I’ll still think about it now and then
and it will be tender for awhile,
but I will also let it go and focus on what I can do
and what gifts I have here in my hands to return a thank you
for all this.

There’s just some things you can do nothing about except
acknowledge the injustice and keep moving with grace
towards making something of what you are given,
like a story, a new song, a morning in which I have a home,
am not dodging bombs or being dragged to my death by monsters.

I read about it as I walk back up the stairs with the morning paper.
I keep all that in mind, in heart. Ultimately, the only thing
I have control over is my own dignity, no matter what happens.
So, my wounded little dignity is taking a big breath,
doing a stomp dance shuffle and will keep making music anyway.

Joy Harjo 2004

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