Poems and Stories
by Luci Tapahonso
University of Arizona Press, 2008
|Each evening, the mountains surrounding us glow gold,
then pink, then purple that deepens into soft black.
The mountains know such evenings will be only memories decades from now.
Memories that will bring the sudden, light ache of waiting tears
and a gentle pang to the depths of one's chest.
The mountains remember the tenderness with which they were created.
They remember the way the Holy Ones sang with such beauty,
it compelled them to rise out of the flat desert.
The lyric spirit of the Navajo Nation (Diné Bikéyah) infuses the poems and stories of this collection by Diné poet and literature professor Luci Tapahonso. It whistles beneath memories of horse rides and burials, ancient ceremonies and new beginnings. It lingers in the voice that reads on the accompanying audio CD.
The Holy People lived here in the beginning
They built the first hooghan, made the first weapons,
sang the first songs and made the first prayers.
Diné language, ceremonies,
history, and beliefs began here.
This is where we began.
||Tapahonso evokes this spirit from a solitary dove "whose delicate coos are the rhythmic pauses of desert mornings," and from the "sweet scent of refreshed creosote" and "skies of brilliant teal." Navajo words and phrases mingle with her English verse and prose, offering brief glimpses of prayers and rituals and sacred ways of thinking. Despite its many moments of despair and melancholy, life's mysteries and meanings continually express themselves in the natural world.||also by Luci Tapahonso
Blue Horses Rush In: Poems and Stories (1997)
Saanii Dahataat: The Women Are Singing : Poems and Stories (1993)
Songs of Shiprock Fair (1999)
A Breeze Swept Through: Poetry (1987)
Seasonal Woman: Luci Tapahonso (1982)