Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting Caught Up on My Reading

Stuck here waiting at the hospital--my mom had surgery two weeks ago and has been here ever since. She's fine, but had to have another surgical procedure today, so she'll be here for a little while longer. A lot of waiting goes on around here, it seems. Different people every day. I'm sure there's a poem in there somewhere, but I can't muster the energy to write it.

Instead, I'm using my waiting time to get caught up on my RSS feeds. I was approaching 200 unread items, so I had plenty of catching up to do. One of my favorite feeds is from Poetry Daily. The poems they send out each day are rarely by well-known poets. But they are often really good.

I was drawn to this one because it tells the tiniest slice of a story. It captures a small moment so poignantly that I find it irresistible, despite the emotional content. I also was drawn to its beginning (I've spent a lot of time in hospitals lately, although my mom is going to be fine, not so sure about the patient in the poem) and its ending, which adds a puzzle-like element to the poem. I love pieces like this--where there's some uncertainty about what's happening. I am not the kind of person that needs a poem to be clear-cut and easy to understand. In fact, I like them more when you read them and you're left with multiple possible interpretations. In my mind, this poem does exactly that. Of course, if to you it's crystal clear what's happening in the end, let me know.
Milk--By Melissa Stein

The nurse has made up the bed so crisply.
Tucked the corners' rote origami
so soundly into the aluminum frame. 
Your lips glisten, moistened with a square
of sponge. I hold your hand—weightless
thing of parchment and twig— 
no more your daughter than a seed
cast from hoof-split rattlegrass, no more than
an asterisk sprung from thistle, caught, wished upon, 
let go. I inhale the antiseptic scent of bay,
of balsam. Rooted here, in this cheap plastic chair,
as if I'll miss something, 
as if my missing it would matter.

Please read the rest of the poem to check out the ending. I'm going to go finish getting caught up

Monday, August 30, 2010

Poetry Mix Tape: Poetry by Native Americans

It's been a busy week, what with the return to work and all, so I'm tardy in my creation of a Poetry Mix Tape. My inspiration for this week's theme, Poetry by Native Americans, came after reading a poem by the award-winning author and poet Sherman Alexie. It was a beautiful, moving piece. There was only one problem--I couldn't remember where I'd found it. I knew I read it within the last couple weeks, but wasn't sure if it had been online or in one of the anthologies I checked out from the library.

After much searching, I finally found it. And I was glad I did:

I Would Steal Horses  
By Sherman Alexie 
For Kari

for you, if there were any left,
give a dozen of the best
to your father, the auto mechanic
in the small town where you were born

and where he will die sometime by dark.
I am afraid of his hands, which have
rebuilt more of the small parts
of this world than I ever will.

I would sign treaties for you, take
every promise as the last lie, the last
point after which we both refuse the exact.

I would wrap us both in old blankets
hold every disease tight against our skin.
(I apologize for posting the entire poem; I couldn't resist. You can find copyright info and the entire poem here.)

So I went on to spend some of my free time this week hunting for poems for this week's mix tape. I came across many new poems by poets that were both familiar and new to me. It was challenging because it's an area of poetry that I don't have much of a experience with. And also because there's no one place on the net where Native American poems can be accessed. They're spread out quite a bit. I guess that's why I like this mix tape project. It lets me search far and wide for poems that fit my theme and then compile them in one place for perpetuity.

Please, if you know of any poems that fit this week's theme, post them to the comments. The more, the better. And while I think of it, teachers out there, feel free to encourage your students to participate in this little weekly project. The Poetry Mix Tape has no age limits!

So here is my Poetry by Native American Poets Mix Tape:

"What is Broken Is What God Blesses" by Jimmy Santiago Baca
"Blankets of Bark" by Sherman Bitsui
"The Girl Who Loved the Sky" and "Song of Our Times" by Anita Endrezze
"When the World Ended as We Knew It" by Joy Harjo
"Blind Curse" and "Culture and the Universe" by Simon J. Ortiz
"Ash" and "Birth" by Elise Paschen (scroll down to find them)
"Hoola Hand" by Henry Real Bird (scroll down here, too)
"I Was Sleeping Where the Black Oaks Move" and "Captivity" by Louise Erdrich

I know this is my biggest mix tape so far, but I couldn't narrow it down. I didn't have many poems by Native American poets in my mental database to begin with, so I really wanted to push myself to come up with a good number of them. I hope you find the time to look through some or all of them. And please add your contributions to the mix tape in the Comments section.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Poetry Teaching Idea: Wordle Poems

It was a busy week last week. So, try as I might, I couldn't put together a poem for what I thought was an excellent prompt over at Big Tent Poetry. However, I will be using their idea as an activity for my students this coming school year. Here's how it works:
  1. Choose a favorite poem, preferably one filled with rich language.
  2. Select several words from that poem that someone else could use collectively as a prompt for writing their own poem. Their goal will be to use as many of these words as possible to create an original poem.
  3. Go to Wordle.Net to create a "Wordle" using these words.
  4. Share this Wordle with your friends or classmates and ask them to write a poem using as many of these words as possible. 
  5. Once they've written their poem, reveal the original poem to them, so they can see how it compares.
The Big Tent prompt used the amazing poem "Last August Hours Before the Year 2000" by Naomi Shihab Nye. Click here to see how their Wordle turned out. 

I like this idea a lot. I think I'll present it to my fourth graders with a Wordle prompt of my own, and have them all write from that prompt. Then, I'll have them each choose a poem that they like, select words from that poem, and create a Wordle of their own. Then they can trade Wordles with a partner, with that partner writing a poem from this prompt. Finally, at the end, students can reveal to each other and the class the poems that they chose. I don't think I'll try this early in the year, but definitely sometime this winter, once we've read a lot of poems and have developed our poetry writing "chops."

As an example, I made a Wordle using of which this blog is a namesake, "Psalm" by George Oppen. Check it out:
Wordle: Psalm
Not the easiest poem for this type of prompt, and not the one I'd choose for my elementary students, but I think you get the idea. Let me know if you try this with your students. I'd love to see how it turns out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Poetry Friday: At Lowe's Home Improvement Center

I have a poem to share on this Poetry Friday that could lead me in numerous directions. What I'll choose to focus on is that this week the last American combat brigade withdrew from Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom has, apparently, come to a close.

War is something foreign to me, and I hope it will always remain so. I have to be honest, I never supported the War in Iraq in any fashion--I consider myself to be a pretty staunch pacifist, particularly when it comes to military operations in Iraq. But let me be clear, I have nothing but respect and reverence for the men and women who serve in our country's armed forces. I admire their courage and dedication and I honor their service and sacrifices. As the child, grandchild, and great-grandchild of veterans, anything less is unconscionable for me.

So this week I want to share a poem I came across via my RSS feed from Poetry Daily, "At Lowe's Home Improvement Center." It's one of the few poems I've read about the Iraq War, and I think for people like myself, who've never experienced combat or anything like it, it captures the unending impact that warfare has on the lives of those who serve. It made me think of a short story I read in college, "A Soldier's Home," by Ernest Hemingway, which made me realize that for those who survive combat, life is never, ever the same.

In honor of those who have served and given their lives to the pursuit of freedom, and in celebration of what I hope is the end combat operations in Iraq and the eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan, I share "At Lowe's Home Improvement Center," by Brian Turner:
At Lowe's Home Improvement Center
Standing in aisle 16, the hammer and anchor aisle,
I bust a 50 pound box of double-headed nails
open by accident, their oily bright shanks
and diamond points like firing pins
from M-4s and M-16s.
                                   In a steady stream
they pour onto the tile floor, constant as shells
falling south of Baghdad last night, where Bosch
kneeled under the chain guns of helicopters
stationed above, their tracer-fire a synaptic geometry
of light.
            At dawn, when the shelling stops,
hundreds of bandages will not be enough.
                                  . . .
Bosch walks down aisle 16 now, in full combat gear,
improbable, worn out from fatigue, a rifle
slung at his side, his left hand guiding
a ten-year-old boy who sees what war is
and will never clear it from his head.
Here, Bosch says, Take care of him.
I'm going back in for more.
Please read the rest of the poem here. It is definitely worth your time, and definitely worth sharing if you are a teacher of social studies, current events, or literature. If you know of any more poems about the wars in the Middle East, please share them. War Poetry is certainly a sub-genre that may be explored in a future Poetry Mix Tape. Now that I mention it, if you haven't checked out this week's Mix Tape, please do so and feel free to contribute.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Teach Poetry K-12, one of my favorite blogs. Be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Poetry Mix Tape: Summer Poems

I had some trouble thinking of a theme for this week's Poetry Mix Tape. I toyed around with a few ideas, but couldn't settle on a good one. I really thought last week's Mix Tape was a home run, thanks in no small part to a number of great comments from readers. A tough act to follow you might say.

But then I got to thinking about the end of summer. I go back to work on Monday, so my summer has just about come to a close. So although it took some research on my part, these are all poems I read for the first time this week, I have chosen SUMMER for this week's Poetry Mix Tape theme.

Here are five poems about summer for you to (hopefully) enjoy:

"Summer Song" by William Carlos Williams
"Morningside Heights, July" by William Matthews
"Jet" by Tony Hoagland
"To the Light of September" by W.S. Merwin
"Summer" by Carlo Betocchi

Now, I have to say I applied the theme fairly loosely here. Not all of these are strictly about summer. Some are set during summer or simply just mention "summer." They are, however, all very good poems. Check out the opening of Hoagland's "Jet:"

Sometimes I wish I were still out
on the back porch, drinking jet fuel   
with the boys, getting louder and louder   
as the empty cans drop out of our paws   
like booster rockets falling back to Earth

and we soar up into the summer stars.   
Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead,   
bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish   
and old space suits with skeletons inside. 
It gets better, too, so make sure you read the rest at The Poetry Foundation.

Maybe you know some good ones that fit this theme a little better. Please contribute to our Poetry Mix Tape by leaving your poems in the Comments. I am sure there are more great summer poems out there than these. Share them with the world!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Love Poems: Yum or Yuck?

My wife and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary last week. Well, "celebrated" might be a stretch--we went out to dinner at one of our favorite local joints, but no presents were exchanged or anything like that. We pretty much gave that up when we had kids and money seemed to get a lot tighter. I did, however, chew on the idea of sharing a poem about marriage or anniversaries or the like with my wife. I tried to find one, I really did, but...I don't know, maybe I was being too particular. I just couldn't find the right one for us.

I am partial to "Touch Me" by Stanley Kunitz. But I've shared that with her before. I was hoping to find something new. And it couldn't just be any ol' love poem...it had to be right for us, you know? That, I think, is the hardest part.

I wish I could tell you that I made a gift of the perfect love poem and could share it with you at this point, but I couldn't come up with anything. Maybe next year. And I think I decided that "love poems"just aren't my thing. They don't do anything for me, not the mushy ones at least. I guess I'm partial to the more subtle poems about love, a description that I believe definitely applies to "Touch Me." Or to a poem like "For What Binds Us" by Jane Hirschfield.

Here's one that I found that I like, but I'm just not sure how much I like it yet. Sometimes there are poems that need to marinate for awhile with me before I can really connect with them. See what you think:

Tree Marriage

In Chota Nagpur and Bengal
the betrothed are tied with threads to   
mango trees, they marry the trees   
as well as one another, and   
the two trees marry each other.
Could we do that some time with oaks   
or beeches? This gossamer we   
hold each other with, this web   
of love and habit is not enough.  
Please read the rest of the poem at The Poetry Foundation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Poetry Friday: Poetry Mix Tape Number One

I wish there was a poetry iPod. You know what I mean--you could store all your favorite poems on it so you'd never forget them. Then you could just hit "shuffle" and get your favorites delivered to you randomly. Hmm...maybe I'm onto something here. (Now, I think, is a good time to say that if anyone ever produces or creates something like this, I thought of it first. I want royalties!)

Until I'm able to figure out how to make this product, I think I'll start a new series of blog posts. I'll call it "Poetry Mix Tape." Here's how it works...

Each week, I'll pick a theme and provide a list of poems that I really like that fit the theme. I guess I should probably pick a day of the week to do this, so let's go with...Wednesdays!

Naturally, you, dear reader, are invited to participate. I encourage you to create a mix tape of your own that fits the weekly theme. Leave your list (or a link to where we can find your list) in the comments section. And, if you don't like the theme, feel free to create your own!

(Now, I think, is a good time to say that The Small Nouns needs subscribers! I know there's about 2 of you who read on a regular basis, but I want more. So, what are you waiting for? Use the links in the sidebar to get The Small Nouns delivered to your inbox or RSS Reader. Now would also be a good time to politely beg all my fellow bloggers out there to please add me to their blog rolls! Ten hits a week just isn't cutting it with my ego.)

So without further ado, I give you this week's Poetry Mix Tape. The theme--Poems about Poets and Poetry.

"Poetry" by Marianne Moore
"Digging" by Seamus Heaney
"Poet's work" by Lorine Niedecker
"Valentine For Ernest Mann" by Naomi Shihab Nye
"Poets Hitchhiking on the Highway" by Gregory Corso

These are poems I really enjoy. I hope you enjoy them, too. And I look forward to reading the poems in your Mix Tape. Even if you're only able to contribute a poem or two, please do so in the comments.

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by The Stenhouse Blog this week. Be sure to check it out!

Winthrop: More Poetry in Music

Ever since my last post about poetic song lyrics, I've been keeping a sharp ear out for more. Came across one song that I have been enchanted by for awhile. It's by Indigo Girls, and it's one you probably haven't heard before. It's called "Winthrop," from their rarities CD, which was released a few years ago.

By Indigo Girls

when we get back to winthrop
a few miles from the airport
on a plastic chair
on a deck where my friends live
i watch the taking off airplanes
i watch the ocean waves crashing
with all of this movement something's got to give

down at the high tide
passed down through the family
the fishermen gather to complain about the catch
they talk about time
they talk about tides
the pull of the moon and the
coffee deep night black
and i listen to them
and i listen to you
and for everyone there is
something never coming back

The "coffee deep night black" line is wonderful, and at the end of the song it 
repeats, but this time as "deep night coffee black." I also enjoy the near rhyme 
of "time" and "tides." 

What you really need to do is listen to it to fully appreciate it. You can 
also find the full lyrics here.

Are there songs that you find especially poetic? My musical expertise is 
certainly limited, and I always welcome suggestions.

Short Poems Fascinate Me

Brevity is not a strong point of mine. So when a poet is able capture meaning or create a beautiful image using only a few lines, I'm almost always amazed. Take this one for example:
A strange old man
Stops me,
Looking out of my deep mirror.

--HITOMARO (trans. Kenneth Rexroth)
If I tried to write a poem about going older, I'd ramble on and on, probably. Stanza after stanza of lame attempts at reflecting upon the passage of time. Hitomaro does it brilliantly in 11 words. Not only that, but he keeps the meaning a secret during the first two lines, waiting until the last minute to reveal to us what the poem is really about. I also like that it's not just a mirror, but a deep mirror. Ten words would have been just fine--the poem could do without that word, "deep." But it just wouldn't be as good with only 10 words, would it?

I love finding short poems to discuss with my students. They lend themselves to zooming in on individual words. They're also good for dictation, which I don't do a ton of, but which I think is a valuable method of teaching poetry.

One thing I've been thinking about is how to get students to write short poems. Is teaching them a form (haiku, etc.) the best way to limit their "wordiness?" Do they need rules like those provided by haiku and similar forms? Or do they just need really good models to serve as mentor poems and to inspire their writing? Or maybe all of the above? I'm thinking of perhaps doing a short poems "mini-unit" this year where we spend time just reading and writing short poems. No idea yet how I'll structure this, but I'm open to suggestions!

I'll leave you with this rather famous short poem by Ezra Pound:

In a Station of the Metro 
by Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Poetry Friday: Poetry in Georgia

I am in suburban Atlanta this weekend, traveling with my family to a cousin-in-law's college graduation. The South is pretty foreign to me, and I have to admit, it doesn't have much appeal. (Hopefully none of my 3 subscribers are from the South--I'm just being honest here, sorry. Now that I mention it, why don't I have more subscribers? C'mon people, help an up-and-coming poetry blogger out!) Maybe it's the heat, I don't know, but I don't think my "Places I'd Like to Visit" list has many entries south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Perhaps I'm rambling, but I do have to say poetry has been on my mind. Perhaps it was the family roadtrip or driving through the mountains or the daily monsoon-like rains we've had to endure. Lots of inspiration in all those places. Whatever the case, I did a little Google-ing tonight, searching for poets from Georgia and their poems, hoping to find something to share for Poetry Friday.

I had no idea the poem I posted about earlier this week was written by a Georgian. (Coincidence?) But I also found this gem by 1999 Georgia Poet of the Year Barbara Ras to share, too...

You Can't Have It All
by Barbara Ras
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam's twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man's legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who'll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can't bring back the dead,
but you can have the words 
forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. 

The entire poem can be found here. I hope you check it out and let me know what you think.

I really enjoy the long lines and the stream-of-consciousness effect that they create. The title speaks to me, too. Ras takes a common, overly-used phrase and makes it the title of her poem (A title which also serves as the first line--a technique I really like). She then goes on to make you forget all about what you can't have because that's not what the poem is about. It's about what you CAN have. And that, my friends, is a lot. Finally, when you read it all, you'll hopefully find that Ras concludes the poem perfectly: "You can't have it all, but there is this."

Nicely done, Georgia. I can't get behind your residents' driving skills and the urban sprawl and the Confederate flag bumper stickers and the 110 percent humidity, but I've got to tip my cap to your poets and their poems. Maybe I can learn a lesson from Barbara Ras's poem, too.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Author Amok this week. Be sure to check out what's happening in the rest of the poetry blogosphere.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sign For My Father

I took my dad to dinner for Father's Day today. What's that? It's August? Well, better late than never, I suppose. It was nice to sit down with him and chat, just the two of us--something we hardly ever get to do. We used to play golf a lot in the summer, which gave us plenty of time to talk, but that was before I entered parenthood. Those days are gone, now.

I gave him another "gift" after we ate--a poem. It's by David Bottoms and its called "Sign For My Father, Who Stressed the Bunt." I discovered last summer, thanks to my good friend Joe Tsujimoto (buy his books on Amazon, people! They're pure gold, I tell you!). It pulled at my heart-strings because its message is something I've never really been able to say to my dad. This is probably true for many sons, I suppose. Hopefully the poem will say it for me.

It comes from that all-American genre of "Baseball Poetry," but it's much more than a baseball poem. Much, much more. Here are the first few lines:
On the rough diamond,
the hand-cut field below the dog lot and barn,
we rehearsed the strict technique
of bunting.  I watched from the infield,
the mound, the backstop
as your left hand climbed the bat, your legs
and shoulders squared toward the pitcher.
You could drop it like a seed
down either base line.  I admired your style,
but not enough to take my eye off the bank
that served as our center-field fence.
The rest of the poem is a must-read--like so many poems, the beauty is in the ending. In fact, I think I find the ending to be quite sublime. Now that I mention it, so is the title.

And, if you have the time, watch this video of Mr. Bottoms reading it himself. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

More From Montana

I had been stumped on what to write about today, but then I remembered a poem I came across when hunting down info for my post about Henry Real Bird. It's a poem that was shared with me last year and I like it a lot. I share it here in its entirety because there is no good place to cut it off. (Sorry for this infringement. I'll take the poetry blogging demerits, I suppose. If you'd rather, you can find the poem and its permissions here.)

Once in the 40's
by William Stafford

We were alone one night on a long
road in Montana. This was in winter, a big
night, far to the stars. We had hitched,
my wife and I, and left our ride at
a crossing to go on. Tired and cold--but
brave--we trudged along. This, we said,
was our life, watched over, allowed to go
where we wanted. We said we'd come back some time
when we got rich. We'd leave the others and find
a night like this, whatever we had to give,
and no matter how far, to be so happy again.

What a great story captured in 11 lines. "Whatever we had to give, and no matter how far..." Such simple language illustrating a deep emotion. And how about "far to the stars?" Kind of a surprising way of stating that...and with such nice sounds. I feel at a loss for words when it comes to describing all the great things about this poem. Maybe you can try.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Whitman Re-imagined

I missed the past few weeks responding to the writing prompt over at Big Tent Poetry. This week's challenge was a doozy, so I thought I'd try to get back into the act.

The goal: write a poem placing a pop icon in a mundane, domestic situation. Yikes. If you check out the results, you'll find some fabulous responses: a sordid take on Martha Stewart after dark, Jack Bauer making dinner, and more.

I had a lot of trouble thinking of what to do with this one. So I put kind of a twist on it. I imagined what Walt Whitman would think if he were alive in the year 2010 and working some dead-end office job. Is Uncle Walt the pop icon the Big Tent folks had in mind? Probably not. But I think it works just the same.


O 2010!
By Ben Curran
(after Whitman)

O me! O life!  Here in perpetuity, confined to endless days a spiral of monotony:
Awake, arise, dress, drive, work, perform, text, review, adjust, count, type, tweet...
Stranded to repeat today and day the next within windowless walls,
One more day tied to these spreadsheets, bound to this net.
One more day confined to this cubicle, tortured by the cursed blinking cursor.
One more day among those that stalk the concrete, bombarded by
    wars on terror, carbon, recession.

Questions abound--Do you ask them, too?
What has brought me here?
What have I become?
What will it take to sever my ties?
From whence comes the strength for escape?

To break free from that which binds my spirit and mind,
To grow my beard and wistfully tread among the flora of the forest:
    Baneberry, chicory, pensternon, more.
To know no obligation to desk nor outlets nor walls.
To dig my hands deep in soil and feel nutrients coursing into me.
To contribute my verse to the pages of the anti-modern world.
To never go back to the trappings of Man.

O me! O life! This new unavoidable question:
What now?
Satchel strapped. Life unplugged. Caution tossed.
Onward toward the answer.

Big Sky Poetry

It seems to me that one of life's best tiny gifts is the discovery of a new poet. I suppose there are different ways new poets arrive in our midst, but, for me, most of the time it's happenstance. This week it was via NPR's All Things Considered. They profiled the poet laureate of Montana, Henry Real Bird. Mr. Real Bird apparently is a rancher and has been referred to as a "cowboy poet."

The NPR feature and interview of Mr. Real Bird centered around his summer project--riding on horseback across Montana, handing out books of his poems to people he passes along the way! This seems like nothing short of brilliant, in my mind. Here's a link to the NPR story.

I found this story fascinating for a number of reasons. First, I'm a bit obsessed with "The West." I'd love to live in Wyoming or Montana someday. Second, Henry Real Bird came across as a true word-smith. In a short time on the air, he showed an innate ability to not only connect with the land and people of Montana, but also an ability to capture this connection in words. Here's a quote I pulled from the transcript of his interview with Michelle Norris. She asked him to share a few lines of his poetry. I'm not sure how the lines are supposed to be arranged, so I'm just taking it straight from the transcript:

Sunrise quarrels, recapitulation of sunrise quarrels, thoughts of man, civilization recedes, waves on shore of sand, attached to a reality now touches in life's span, (unintelligible) beginning of end strands, scratched thoughts drawn on rock of cave preserve our humble beginning, recorded in computer reserve. We question, wonder, learn, origin and beyond, shifting winds up the canyon walls, no barrier. We yawn from the constant vigil of progress that marches toward both ends of the spectrum cloning to nuclear arches. We give life and take life like them.
That strikes a chord with me somehow. I can't put a finger on exactly why. It just does.

The only frustrating part of this new discovery is that the work of Henry Real Bird is really difficult to find. My searches have turned up very little thus far. At this point, I'm pretty much obsessed with finding it somewhere. If you have any thoughts or clues, please let me know. The one spot I did find a few poems was on a Montana Arts Council page, but there's got to be more out there somewhere. I'll keep you updated. Until then, here's a bit from "Hoola Hand," by Henry Real Bird. Visit the aforementioned page to read the rest:

Today as I let go, a hoola hand into the dawn
Among silhouetted horse heads, held by a rope corral
But then, that day was many winters ago
To good horses you are drawn
I have asked that you ride the best
Of beautiful words to create images
Of life’s reflections filled with feelings of reality
Winters many may you ride the best.