When Poets Pray


Eagle Poem by Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can’t see, can’t hear;

Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren’t always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

Admit Something by Hafiz

Everyone you see, you say to them,

Love me.

Of course you do not do this out loud;


Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,

this great pull in us

to connect.

Why not become the one

who lives with a full moon in each eye

That is always saying,

With that sweet moon language,

What every other eye in this world

Is dying to Hear.

The Lily By Mary Oliver

Night after night


enters the face

of the lily

which, lightly,

closes its five walls

around itself,

and its purse

of honey,

and its fragrance,

and is content

to stand there

in the garden,

not quite sleeping,

and, maybe,

saying in lily language

some small words

we can’t hear

even when there is no wind


its lips

are so secret,

its tongue

is so hidden –

or, maybe,

it says nothing at all

but just stands there

with the patience

of vegetables

and saints

until the whole earth has turned around

and the silver moon

becomes the golden sun –

as the lily absolutely knew it would,

which is itself, isn’t it,

the perfect prayer?