Ancapagari

By Carolyn Forché b. 1950 Carolyn Forche
In the morning of the tribe this name Ancapagari was given to these mountains. The name, then alive, spread into the world and never returned. Ancapagari: no foot-step ever spoken, no mule deer killed from its foothold, left for dead. Ancapagari opened the stones. Pine roots gripped peak rock with their claws. Water dug into the earth and vanished, boiling up again in another place. The water was bitten by aspen, generations of aspen shot their light colored trunks into space. Ancapagari. At that time, if the whisper was in your mouth, you were lighted.

Now these people are buried. The root-taking, finished. Buried in everything, thousands taken root. The roots swell, nesting. Openings widen for the roots to surface.

They sway within you in steady wind of your breath. You are forever swinging between this being and another, one being and another. There is a word for it crawling in your mouth each night. Speak it.

Ancapagari has circled, returned to these highlands. The yellow pines deathless, the sparrow hawks scull, the waters are going numb. Ancapagari longs to be spoken in each tongue. It is the name of the god who has come from among us.

Carolyn Forché, “Ancapagari” from Gathering the Tribes. Copyright © 1976 by Carolyn Forché. Reprinted with the permission of Yale University Press, http://www.yale.edu/yup/.

Source: Gathering the Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976)

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Poet Carolyn Forché b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Heroes & Patriotism, Mythology & Folklore

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Carolyn  Forché

Biography

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950, poet, teacher and activist Carolyn Forché has witnessed, thought about, and put into poetry some of the most devastating events of twentieth-century world history. According to Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Times Book Review, Forché’s ability to wed the “political” with the “personal” places her in the company of such poets as Pablo Neruda, Philip Levine, and Denise Levertov.

An articulate . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Heroes & Patriotism, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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