Simon Joseph Ortiz (1941-)
Four Poems for a Child Son
December 18, 1972
WHATS YOUR INDIAN NAME?
1It has to do with full moments
2of mountains, deserts, sun, gods,
4It has to do with stories, legends
5full of heroes and traveling.
6It has to do with rebirth and growing
7and being strong and seeing.
8You see it's like this (the movement):
9go to the water
10and gather the straight willow stems
11bring them home
12work carefully at forming them
13tie on the feathers
14paint them with the earth
15feed them and talk with them
17You see, son, the eagle is a whole person
18the way it lives; it means it has to do
19with paying attention to where it is,
20not the center of the earth especially
21but part of it, one part among all parts,
22and that's only the beginning.
IT WAS THE THIRD DAY, JULY 12 , 1971
1Hitchhiking on the way to Colorado,
2I heard your voice, "Look, Dad..."
3 A hawk
4sweeping its wings
6through the whole sky
7 the blue
8 the slow wind
9fresh with the smell of summer alfafa
10at the foot of the Jemez Mountains.
11(You see, the gods come during the summer
12for four days amongst the people,
13bring gifts, bring hope and life,
14you can see them, I mean.)
15Waiting for my next ride,
17 Look, the plants with bells.
18 Look, the stones with voices.
1In the late afternoon,
2there was suddenly a noise of birds
3filling up everything.
4This morning in the newspaper,
5I read about starlings at the Air Force base.
6I guess they were but all I knew yesterday
7was that they filled up the trees,
8the utility wires, the sky, the world.
9That's all I know.
WHAT MY UNCLE TONY TOLD MY SISTER AND ME
1Respect your mother and father.
2Respect your brothers and sisters.
3Respect your uncles and aunts.
4Respect your land, the beginning.
5Respect what is taught you.
6Respect what you are named.
7Respect the gods.
9Everything that is around you
10is part of you.
17] The poet and his son Raho Nez belong to the Eagle clan of the Acoma Pueblo people.
10] Jemez Mountains: Southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains in New Mexcio.
Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Ortiz, Simon J. Woven Stone. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1992: 45-47.
Publication date note: Ortiz, Simon J. Going for the Rain. New York: Harper and Row, 1976: 7-9.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/6/21
Other poems by Simon Joseph Ortiz