This photo shows an autographed copy of the poem "I Give You Back" by Joy Harjo, a Muscogee (Creek) writer and performer who is currently the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States.
An article I wrote about this poem was just published in The Observer, my local La Grande, OR newspaper. You can read it by clicking HERE.
My friend Tanya got the poem autographed for me back in 1998. She knew how much I loved Harjo's poetry, but I couldn't go to the live poetry performance in Portland, OR, because I had moved back to Indiana to prepare to go to Bangladesh as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Tanya sent me the autographed poem, and it went to it went to Bangladesh with me, collaged on the back of a notebook I used as a journal during my travels. If I ever needed poetry to remind me to release my fear, it was during that season of my life! I also needed Harjo's message: for justice, for love.
I added the dragonfly cutout in the picture to the notebook's collage, with another Harjo quote written on it:
"I hope on some level, they can transform hatred into love...I know that language is alive and living, so I hope in some small way my poems can transform hatred into love."
(photo below: sporting a new sari in 1999 in Bangladesh)
What does it take to write poetry that can transform hatred into love?
Before I can create poetry or serve people in other ways that change the world, I must learn to release my fears into acceptance and my anger into compassion.
From those more spacious stances, I can not only be more generous in loving others, but also more joyful!
It's taken a long time, the support of numerous spiritual directors, mentors, and companions, but today I can recognize my own growth in these areas.
Have you had a growth-recognition moment recently? I love a good story. If you want, share yours by emailing me: Laura@lauraellyhudson.com
For justice, for love,
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