before this night became song

چ
before this night became song
I quarreled with the barreled

dark      took youth to task brought
hark to worry sold the tune of

death as so many lyrics that went
the songward way      before this

night became song I quarreled

ح‬
More than water, I have faith in
the sweat of

Treebark      in the foot of the mountain’s
burrow      more

Than the lick of an aguing folksong I
have faith in

The grass of worry, the team of point
less clemencies

spirit of the matter-of-fact

the spirit of the matter-of-fact speaks, and
the stray dogs of my poem

wither off into unkempt song     not dressed
for the occasion, we are

called out for being rain, flower, sunknown
seed     the song is tired

it will be forever before the spirit of the
matter-of-fact decides

we are called out for being snake, wood,
snowbound need     the

song is tired     it will be forever before
the spirit of the matter-

of-fact abides, and it will not rain till
time dries out & slithers

I greet my deed

1.
“Happily may fair yellow corn, fair blue corn, fair corn of all kinds, plants of all kinds, jewels of all kinds, to the ends of the earth, come with you
With these before you, happily may they come with you
With these behind, below, above, around you, happily may they come with you
Thus you accomplish your tasks”

American Indian Poetry – an anthology of songs and chants, lines from Night Song.

With my error as guide, I
sieve through plants of all kinds, with

error as my guide, I roast
all kindling as my own – to

the ends of the earth, I toast
my happy loaves – thus I meet

my deed on my way, with error
burning on my eves, I greet my

deed behind, below, around me –
thus I accomplish my tasks

2.
are you nourished by the sea of
the child who plays in the dark &
is your belly full?

is your rope too taut for magic
and if it is, where is the wand
to dry each bone?

do you flip each eerie stone &
when you do, does your heart skip
along tiny wishsteps?

3.
the cornstalk grew corntales
some were ripe and some were

just thorns      so many thorns
there was no forgiveness

so many thorns, one could only
try and grow more corn      and

this time, some were tall and
some were beginning to sound

repetitious      so the corntales
grew up all handsome and pretty

and did not speak for a very
long time      till one spoke –

the ten thousand things

Resistance, the flowering fire of memory – Rukeyser, Muriel

As we mark the thinness of the
ten thousand things, as we go

past the halt, the hark of memory,
can we shirk off the rock of

my mountain’s mountain? as we
claim the fire of childspeak,

childstone, where will the song
of my deadwood ash its spike,

its noose? to resist is to burn
with remembrance, with the thing-

ness of the ten thousand things