Saturday, August 10, 2013

Poetry Friday (on Saturday): Howard Norman

Howard Norman

I am a day behind the usual Poetry Friday posting. So this is Poetry Saturday. I want to share a poem from one of my absolute favorite collections, The Wishing Bone Cycle by Howard Norman. The subtitle is "Narrative Poems from the Swampy Cree Indians." Apparently they were "gathered and translated by Howard A. Norman" - but I do think the gathering, the eye for what is poetic, is 100% Norman's. In a significant way, these poems are only partially translations in the traditional sense. Norman has learned the stories and turned them into poems. Here is one that delights me:

One night I was wishing things all over.
Then, I thought there were too many stars.
in the sky
and not enough light down under,
in the earth.
That's when I wished a star down
for that mole
to carry on his nose.
He took it down under.
He walked around with it under there
and tried it out.
Now he comes up sometimes
to let his star talk to the other stars
in the sky.
It's dark down there
but his nose sees where he's going. 

 Poetry Friday was hosted yesterday for everyone who knows it's Friday and not Saturday by the most lovely and energetic Renee La Tulippe over at No Water River.  Head over there to see what people posted!


  1. You weren't kidding about the fabulousness of this post! This poem-story put a big smile on my face - delightful indeed! That last line is worth the price of admission. If the book is filled with gems like this, I must get one. :)

  2. I love the poem you posted today! Norman's What Is Left the Daughter was my favorite book of 2010. The writing was fantastic. I kept thinking I should keep pencil and paper by my side to jot down favorite lines. The novel is sad, but strangely uplifting.

  3. Love this! Exactly the second poem I've ever read about the star-nosed mole. Amy LV wrote one for March Madness:

  4. So this is a translation of an Indian poem? very interesting!

  5. A delightful poem about an unexpected creature. Thanks for sharing, no matter what day of the week it is!