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 tatttoos 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

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

Poetic Terms Refrain, Imagery, Metaphor

 Joy  Harjo

Biography

Joy Harjo was born in 1951 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Native American and Canadian ancestry. Strongly influenced by her Muskogee Creek heritage, feminist and social concerns, and her background in the arts, Harjo frequently incorporates Native American myths, symbols, and values into her writing. Her poetry tends to emphasize the Southwest landscape and need for remembrance and transcendence. She once commented, “I feel strongly that . . .

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Poem Categorization

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

Poetic Terms Refrain, Imagery, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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