Poem for the Fourth Annual Brigid Poetry Reading

He Na Tye Woman

by Paula Gunn  Allen

Lakes and Rivers.
Oceans and streams.
Springs, pools and gullies.

Arroyos, creeks, watersheds.
Pacific. Atlantic. Mediterranean.
Indian.  Caribbean.  China Sea.
(Lying.  Dreaming on shallow shores.)
Arctic. Antarctic. Baltic.
Mississippi. Amazon. Columbia. Nile.
Thames. Sacramento. Snake. (undulant woman river.)
Seine.  Rio Grande.  Willamette.  McKenzie.  Ohio.
Hudson.  Po.  Rhine.  Rhone.
Rain. After a lifetime of drought.
That finally cleanses the air.
The soot from our eyes.
The dingy windows or our western home.
The rooftops and branches. The wings of birds.
The new light on a slant. Pouring. Making everything new.

Water (woman) that is the essence of you.
He na tye (woman) that is recognition and remembering.
Gentle. Soft. Sure.
Long shadows of afternoon, growing as the light
turns west toward sleep. Turning with the sun.
(The rest of it is continents and millenia.
How could I have waited so long for completion?)

The water rises around us like the goddess coming home.
(Arisen) Same trip, all things considered, all times
and visions, all places and spaces taken into account
on that ancient journey, finally returned. The maps, the plans,
the timetables: the carefully guided tours into all manner
of futilities. Manners the last turn in the road: arid irony.

(Lady, why does your love so touch me?
(Lady, why do my hands have strenght for you?
(Lady, how could I wander so long without you?

Water in falls, misting and booming on the rocks below.
Tall pines in the mist, the deep carved caves.
Water in rivulets. Gathering speed, drops joining in
headlong flight.
Unnamed rivers, flowing eternally underground,
unchangeing, unchanged.
Water thundering down long dry arroyos, the ancient
of our faith. Drought over, at last. Carrying silt,
bits of broken glass, branches, pebbles, pieces of abandoned
parts of lost houses and discarded dreams. Downstream.
Storms of water, and we
hair plastered to our ecstatic skulls,
waving wild fists at the bolts hurled at us from above
teeth shimmering in the sheets of rain (the sheen)
eyes blinded with the torrents that fall fromthroughover
Rain. The Rain that makes us new.
That rain is you.
How did I wait so long to drink.

Blessed Be

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