Have You Read the Poetry of Linda Hogan?

Do you know the work of poet Linda Hogan?  I love her poetry.  With only two days left of National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share one of my favorite poems, written by Hogan.  The poem is from the “Hunger” section of The Book of Medicines. 

CROSSINGS

by Linda Hogan

There is a place at the center of earth

where one ocean dissolves inside the other

in a black and holy love;

It’s why the whales of one sea

know songs of the other,

why one things becomes something else

and sand falls down the hourglass

into another time.

Once I saw a fetal whale

on a black of shining ice.

Not yet whale, it still wore the shadow

of a human face, and fingers that had grown before the taking

back and turning into fin.

It was a child from the curving world of water turned square,

cold, small.

Sometimes the longing in me

comes from when I remember

the terrain of crossed beginnings

when whales lived on land

and we stepped out of water

to enter our lives in air.

Sometimes it’s from the spilled cup of a child

who passed through all the elements

into the human fold,

but when I turned him over

I saw that he did not want to live

in air.  He’d barely lost

the trace of gill slits

and already he was a member of the clan of crossings.

Like tides of water,

he wanted to turn back.

I spoke across elements

as he was leaving

and told him, Go.

I was like the wild horses

that night when fog lifted.

They were swimming across the river.

Dark was that water,

darker still the horses,

and then they were gone.

###

Poetry Prompt:

Write about the origins of life as you believe, imagine, or create them.  Don’t use Biblical language.  Find a fresh way to describe the beginning.

Here is Hogan reading from “The History of Red”:

13 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Writing prompt

13 responses to “Have You Read the Poetry of Linda Hogan?

  1. A beautiful and scary poem….

  2. gwendolyn jerris

    Power is the only book of hers I’ve read- a beautiful book. I didn’t know she also wrote poetry. Thanks for the recommendations, I’ve ordered both The Book of Medicines and Red Clay and can’t wait to dive in.

    • lucewriter

      Gwendolyn, I’m thrilled to hear that! Her poetry is so so lovely. It’s exciting that you’re going to be “diving in” to both books!

  3. Pingback: Next to Last Day of April’s Poetry Challenge | Two Voices, One Song

  4. wonderful imagery, a moving moment in time…words that rouse old memories and ancient pain…

  5. free penny press

    I have never read her work before. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  6. caryn

    Her work speaks to me like no other. The poem Crossings is a prayer, a meditation and a way of reaching back and forward to times that can only be felt, for me, at the deepest and most intuitional levels. Thank you for posting this moving poem.

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