My Latest New Favorite Poet: Linda Hogan

The latest of my new favorite poets is Linda Hogan. The below work (from American Life in Poetry: Column 421) reverently describes the occurrence that happens a few weeks each year on the Platte River near Grand Island and Kearney, Nebraska. Thousands of sandhill cranes stop there to feed during their annual migration:

The Sandhills

The language of cranes
we once were told
is the wind. The wind
is their method,
their current, the translated story
of life they write across the sky.
Millions of years
they have blown here
on ancestral longing,
their wings of wide arrival,
necks long, legs stretched out
above strands of earth
where they arrive
with the shine of water,
stories, interminable
language of exchanges
descended from the sky
and then they stand,
earth made only of crane
from bank to bank of the river
as far as you can see
the ancient story made new.

The reason she is my new favorite poet is twofold. One, the way she writes is like a ritual, or a tribal song (which makes absolute sense, in that she is Writer in Residence for The Chickasaw Nation). And two, one of my favorite kinds of poetry is nature poetry (e.g., the work of the great Mary Oliver) and this is a lovely example of such work.

My favorite lines are the beginning ones and a perfect example of the poem’s ritual, tribal tone:

“The language of cranes
we once were told
is the wind. The wind
is their method,
their current, the translated story
of life they write across the sky.”

The full article can be found here.
A bit more information about the stopover of the cranes can be found by clicking here!

Enjoy! ;oD

Jamy

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