Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (Parts 1 & 5)


Recognize whose lands these are on which we stand.
Ask the deer, turtle, and the crane.
Make sure the spirits of these lands are respected and
  treated with goodwill.
The land is a being who remembers everything.
You will have to answer to your children, and their children,
 and theirs—
The red shimmer of remembering will compel you up the
 night to walk the perimeter of truth for understanding.
As I brushed my hair over the hotel sink to get ready I heard:
By listening we will understand who we are in this holy
 realm of words.
Do not parade, pleased with yourself.
You must speak in the language of justice.


A panther poised in the cypress tree about to jump is a
panther poised in a cypress tree about to jump.

The panther is a poem of fire green eyes and a heart charged
by four winds of four directions.

The panther hears everything in the dark: the unspoken
tears of a few hundred human years, storms that will break
what has broken his world, a bluebird swaying on a branch a
few miles away.

He hears the death song of his approaching prey:

I will always love you, sunrise.
I belong to the black cat with fire green eyes.
There, in the cypress tree near the morning star.

“Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,” from Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 2015 by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company and the poet.