The Grandmothers Songs


Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Grandmothers Songs – Linda Hogan
The grandmothers were my tribal gods.
They were there
when I was born. Their songs
rose out of wet labor
and the woman smell of birth.

From a floating sleep
they made a shape around me,
a grandmother’s embrace,
the shawl of family blood
that was their song for kinship.
There was a divining song
for finding the lost,
and a raining song
for the furrow and it seed,
one for the hoe
and the house it leaned against.

In those days, through song,
a woman could fly
to the mother of water
and fill her ladle
with cool springs of earth.

She could fly to the deer
and sing him down to the ground.

Song was the pathway where people met
and animals crossed.

Once, flying out of the false death of surgery,
I heard a grandmother singing for help.
She came close
as if down a road of screaming.

It was the terror grandmother.
I’d heard of her.
And when our fingers and voices met,
the song
of an older history came through
my mouth.

At death, they say
everything inside us opens,
mouth, heart, even the ear opens
and breath passes
through the memories
of loves and faces.
The embrace opens
and grandmothers pass,
wearing sunlight
and thin rain,
walking out of fire
as flame
and smoke
leaving the ashes.

That’s when rain begins,
and when the mouth of the river sings,
water flows from it
back to the cellular sea
and along the way
earth sprouts and blooms, the grandmothers
keep following the creation
that opens before them
as they sing.


4 thoughts on “The Grandmothers Songs

  1. mountainmae says:

    Lovely poem – I believe in the power of song.

  2. carolisle says:

    Beautiful especially for today.

  3. becca givens says:

    A friend of mine of Native American descent has taught me to sing storms over — I have enjoyed doing so over the past few months. Very nice poem!!

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