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By Elizabeth Woody

The irresistible and benevolent light
brushes through the angel-wing begonias,
the clippings of ruddy ears for the living room.
Intimate motes, debris of grounded, forlorn walks,
speckle through the vitreous quality of blush.
As fluid lulls turn like trout backs, azure-tipped fins
oscillate in the shallows, the clear floating
is dizziness.

Tender events are meeting halves and wholes of affinity,
the recurrence of whimsy and parallel streams
flush away the blockage of malaise.
Incessant gratitude, pliable kindness smolders
in the husk of these sweet accumulations:
abalone shells, the thoughtful carvings from friends,
the stone of another’s pocket, the photo of mystified
moon over water, the smiles of worn chairs.

Austere hopes find pleasure in lately cherished flowers.
The blooms are articulate deluge, hues of delicacy.
Petals parted dim renderings, the viable imprint
of the blood-hot beam of light with reformed courage.
Beveling the finish to suppression, the blade of choice
brings the flourish of dividing while adequately doubling
worth by two. Multiplying. The luminescent burning of space.
The heat is a domicile as abandoned as red roses budding
their ascension from stem.

The sun has its own drum contenting itself with the rose
heart it takes into continual rumbling. The connection
of surface and hand. The great head of dark clouds finds
its own place of unraveled repercussions and disruption,
elsewhere, over the tall, staunch mountains of indemnity.

Elizabeth Woody, “Illumination” from Luminaries of the Humble. Copyright © 1994 by Elizabeth Woody. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: Luminaries of the Humble (University of Arizona Press, 1994)

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Poet Bio

Elizabeth Woody
An enrolled member of the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon, Elizabeth Woody was born in Ganado, Arizona. She studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and earned a BA in the humanities from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and a Masters in Public Administration from the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. Woody’s poetry reflects her close ties with her family, the natural world, and her people, a group she portrays with humanity and sympathy. Woody works as a program coordinator for the National Science Foundation’s Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction. She is a founding member of the Northwest Native American Writers Association and a board member of Soapstone, a writing retreat for women. Woody is a program officer at Meyer Memorial Trust in Portland, Oregon. In 2017 she was named the 8th Poet Laureate of the state of Oregon. See More By This Poet

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