Sunrise Healing Song

by Joy Harjo

copyright ©2015 by Joy Harjo

Shining persons arrive here
Ha yut ke lani
Open your being
Ha yut ke jate
In every small thought of what to fix
In every immense thought of dancers winding through the
    Milky Way
Ha yut ke lvste
What obscures, falls away.
Ha yut ke hutke

Notes on the Poem

We continue our Poem of the Week celebration of the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist with a glimpse into Joy Harjo's collection Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings ... and oh, what a stirring and celebratory poem we're relishing here. Harjo's "Sunrise Healing Song" leaps with ebullient life, with crisp lines exuding energy and optimism. The poem captures the process of awakening, from the meditative exhortation to "Open your being" to the encouragement to rise in the image of "dancers winding through the     Milky Way" Harjo is not just an accomplished poet, but also well known as a musician and performer. Interwoven throughout Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings are musical references and insights, such as this observation that precedes "Sunrise Healing Song": "In jazz, a break takes you to the skinned-down bones. You stop for a moment and bop through the opening, then keep playing to the other side of a dark and heavy history." Even if you don't understand the lines in another tongue that punctuate this poem, their effect in moving the poem forward is percussive and propulsive, right up to: "What obscures, falls away." We should all greet the day this way.

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