It’s one of my favorite poems, “She Had Some Horses” by Joy Harjo. We used it as a model in one of the staff workshops that I am teaching at Omega this week. After we heard it read out loud in the room, one of the students said, “I’m pretty sure it’s not about horses.”
Yeah, me too. In the preface to the latest edition of the award winning book by the same title, Harjo writes, “‘What do the horses mean?’ is the question I’ve been asked most since the first publication of the book She Had Some Horses in 1984. I usually say, “it’s not the poet’s work to reduce the poem from poetry to logic sense.” Or “it’s not about what the poem means, it’s “how” the poem means.” Then I ask: “So what do the horses mean to you?”
Great question. What do the horses mean to you?
Apart from “meaning” it’s filled with music, movement, repetition, symbolism, ritual, history, women, and spirit. It feels empowering to read. Don’t we all love poetry that feels good in our bodies and not just our minds? Even if the words scare us, sadden us, anger us, make us think outside the comfort zone, music in a great poem always triggers a shift in the way we physically feel. It’s the sound of the soul, right?
Writing Prompt #38
- Long ago, there were horses. Long ago, there were frogs in the puddles of my childhood yard. Long ago, there were ________________ and then ________________________________________.
- Go through your journal and circle objects, animals, places, things that are interesting to you. Don’t think about it too much. Just do it. Write a new poem using that object as a symbol. It is your object, your symbol. Don’t be concerned with what the symbol means.
- Take a story that you wrote and change the tense. Write the forward, epilogue, or re-write it completely in the present tense. How does the symbolism change? Does it change at all?
WHEN YOU FINISH WRITING:
- Read this article by my friend, Karen Chrappa, that has just been published in Elephant Journal. She speaks about the “divine feminine” and you will be inspired after reading it to find your voice. (She even gives a nod to the masculine.) Do it today!! http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/wet-dark-tangled-the-unthwarted-feminine-karen-chrappa/
- Click this link to hear “She Had Some Horses” read by the poet. Get Joy Harjo’s new book. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. By the way, it’s a great idea to visit the website of publishers of authors you love to sign up for an email alert to inform you of their new publications. That way, you can be one of the first to know when their new books are out!
- Take a second to “like” my Facebook page for more good stuff! http://www.facebook.com/StefanieLipsey.Writer.
Thank you very much for visiting each week. I consider each click an honor.