Monday, January 6, 2020

We become what we think . . .

     Browsing a recent issue of World Literature Today, I have found a thought-provoking activist poem by Linda Hogan that considers the ways we are shaped by "our numbers."  I offer below its opening stanzas:

       Embodied   by Linda Hogan

       I am embodied first by the numbers
       given my grandparents,
       no choice but to sign the Dawes Act.    

       Outside under the night moving sky
       I wonder
       what it is to be made of this continent
       from the beginning.
       I came from the salt and water of those before me
       before the creation of zero,
       and then the numbers given my grandparents
       by the American government,
       and the names that belonged to others.
       The past we have not forgotten.
       They said you only pass on the people’s story
       by telling it. You keep it by giving
       it away. And so I do. 
         .  .  .

Linda Hogan is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and has been inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame for her contributions to indigenous literatures.

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