I am Speaks-Fluently

Driving home from the supermarket this morning, I heard this read over the radio. It affected me so much that I accidentally stopped at a green light, chest tight and eyes all full of water.

I’ve included the text below for those who don’t have audio capabilities. Nevertheless, I would encourage you to click the link below and listen to Tony Hoagland reading this poem. Some poems are meant to be heard; they gain their power that way. This is one of those poems.

Listen Here: “Song of Speaks-Fluently”

Song of Speaks-Fluently

To have to carry your own corn far —

who likes it?

To follow the black bear through the thicket —

who likes it?

To hunt without profit, to return without anything —

who likes it?

You have to carry your own corn far.

You have to follow the black bear.

You have to hunt without profit.

If not, what will you tell the little ones? What

will you speak of?

For it is bad not to use the talk which God has sent us.

I am Speaks-Fluently. Of all the groups of symbols,

I am a symbol by myself.

(an Osage poem)

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