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.
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,
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.
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 responses to “Have You Read the Poetry of Linda Hogan?”
A beautiful and scary poem….
Wilma, well put! So true. Almost all her poems are like that!
Jill, she writes such beautiful poems! They are heart-breaking, but soooo lovely.
I plan to check out more!
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.
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!
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wonderful imagery, a moving moment in time…words that rouse old memories and ancient pain…
I have never read her work before. Thank you so much for sharing!!
You’re welcome. I love sharing her work :)!
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.
Me too! I think it has been overlooked!