four generations, and counting they come and they go but they always return, home to this place of beauty a door to the east opens with dawn and she feeds all the hungry children the cats and dogs, the sheep, cows, horses and chickens and on the stove, boiling tea and fry bread for the strays who visit hungry for stories, ritual, medicine, and ceremony she laughs easily and cries easily sharing her heartful with tenderness and pain the stories of the people the land and the ancient ones her memories strong in the bright arch of blue day and into the quiet glow of dusk all the busy sandpink footprints are swept and the table cleared while her shy, slightly awkward, and more or less vegetarian daughter prepares salad, fried vegetables, and rice her daughter from that small floating island country far to the west smiles softly for shimá in the dark nighttime of dreams and in the firelight of a winter ceremony her daughter was called home to heal and be healed, together long centuries of a battered land scarred and broken under the crushing weight of greed and the submerged continent of the massacred but she stands firmly on the ground of her mothers and her mothers' mothers with offerings of pollen and song a door to the east opens with dawn and she feeds all the hungry children who like me return again and time again to shimá
In trying to write about the background and inspiration for the poem above, I found that it cannot really be done. It would be to contain the ocean in a tea cup, or to capture the sky in a butterfly net. There is no encyclopedic text which could adequately describe or explain the entirety of what shimá, a Navajo word translated as “my mother” means… and what shimá means to me. But I can tell you that I am eternally grateful to the woman who I am standing next to in the photo above, who is shimá. And although shimá “walked on” a couple years ago, she guides me still—in my heart and in all that I have become. It is for her and because of her, that I wrote Matriarch.
As I was struggling to write about Matriarch, however, another poetic passage emerged. Apropos, Matriarch birthed a new poem! I wonder how this one, like a little child, will still grow?
On this land, we walk the path of beauty.
The sacred breathes through our bodies, and breathes throughout all that there is.
We are beings of fire and coral sand, of summer rain storms and the unfurling green...
we fly on the wings of song and through endless skies of blue light.
We are diamonds in the night.
And together with the land, we are hózhó.
We are home.