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"Redbird Love", by Joy Harjo

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

Have you ever had a poetry godmother? My friend Toni Goodman is that person to me. Today is the first day I read this poem and love sharing it here.

I will probably not share it in class, since it's a bit long and I usually choose to read shorter poems, but I'm sure that its spirit will be around.

Here it is:

Redbird Love Joy Harjo We watched her grow up. She was the urgent chirper, Fledgling flier. And when spring rolled Out its green She’d grown Into the most noticeable Bird-girl. Long-legged and just The right amount of blush Tipping her wings, crest And tail, and She knew it In the bird parade. We watched her strut. She owned her stuff. The males perked their armor, greased their wings, And flew sky-loop missions To show off For her. In the end There was only one. Isn’t that how it is for all of us? There’s that one you circle back to — for home. This morning The young couple scavenges seeds On the patio. She is thickening with eggs. Their minds are busy with sticks the perfect size, tufts of fluff Like dandelion, and other pieces of soft. He steps aside for her, so she can eat. Then we watch him fill his beak Walk tenderly to her and kiss her with seed. The sacred world lifts up its head To notice —  We are double-, triple-blessed.

from An American Sunrise, W.W. Norton & Company, 2019

California, 2021

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