Ah, Ah

By Joy Harjo b. 1951 Joy Harjo

for Lurline McGregor

Ah, ah cries the crow arching toward the heavy sky over the marina.
Lands on the crown of the palm tree.

Ah, ah slaps the urgent cove of ocean swimming through the slips.
We carry canoes to the edge of the salt.

Ah, ah groans the crew with the weight, the winds cutting skin.
We claim our seats. Pelicans perch in the draft for fish.

Ah, ah beats our lungs and we are racing into the waves.
Though there are worlds below us and above us, we are straight ahead.

Ah, ah tattoos the engines of your plane against the sky—away from these waters.
Each paddle stroke follows the curve from reach to loss.

Ah, ah calls the sun from a fishing boat with a pale, yellow sail. We fly by
on our return, over the net of eternity thrown out for stars.

Ah, ah scrapes the hull of my soul. Ah, ah.

"Ah, Ah" from How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems:1975-2001 by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 2002 by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.wwnorton.com.

Source: How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems: 1975-2001 (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2002)

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Poet Joy Harjo b. 1951

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Nature, Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Refrain, Imagery, Metaphor

 Joy  Harjo


Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. She earned her BA from the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Strongly influenced by her Mvskoke (Creek) heritage, feminist and social concerns, and her background in the arts, Harjo frequently incorporates Mvskoke myths, symbols, and values into her writing. Her poetry inhabits the Southwest landscape and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Refrain, Imagery, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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