As Us

A Space for Women of the World

Linda Boyden – Poetry

Smolder

Above us Angels smolder as they keep watch.
The younger ones swish swords from scabbards,
anxious for vengeance. The Elders say nothing
but peak their eyebrows at the impatience
the impertinence of youth and glare the youngsters
back into smolder. When all is as it should be,
the Angels resume their tedious vigil.

Below we sing our psalms of madness: churn up the planet
slice our neighbors’ throats as they sleep
butcher their good names as they leave a room
tear and thrust into soft flesh rip off fingernails
rape plunder throw acid on the innocents.

Free will is a chaotic gift that itches and burns
yearns to create hungers more to destroy. We rant
through our sorry lives unaware of the choir of
angels who wait and smolder above us.

* * *

Morning

When Sun nudges Night,
pushes from her cold embrace,
you hear His message on the wind.
You step out and face East,
the dew weeping between your toes
and offer pinches of tobacco,
a smudge of sage, and sing Sun home,
an honor song with words like precious, tremble,
cherish. Words known only to you and your mother
and your mother’s mother, a thread of ordinary women
with the extraordinary gift to lure Sun,
coax Him to return, and renew the world.
Only you know the tune. Only He hears
the power within your song.

* * *

Linda Boyden HeadshotLinda Boyden has spent most of her adult life leading children to literacy. From 1970-1997, she taught in primary grades, receiving her master’s in Gifted and Talented Education in 1992 from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. In 1997, Linda decided to change careers and abandoned full-time teaching for full-time writing. Her first picture book, “The Blue Roses,” debuted in 2002. It was the recipient of Lee and Low Books’ first New Voices Award, the 2003 Paterson Prize, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers’ Book of the Year, Children’s Literature, 2002-2003, and was included on the prestigious CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center) 2003 Choices list of recommended titles. In 2007 she wrote and illustrated her second picture book, “Powwow’s Coming” which was published by the University of New Mexico Press. She has also written and illustrated “Giveaways, an ABC Book of Loanwords from the Americas” published also by the University of New Mexico Press in 2010. In 2011, Giveaways was the recipient of three Finalist Awards from the International Book Awards; Finalist in the 2012 New Mexico Book of the Year Award; and was included in the California Reading’s Association’s 2012 California Collections list of recommended titles. In her writing for adults, she has had poems included in a number of anthologies. In 2006, she won the Adult First Place and Third Place awards at the Pleasanton Poetry Festival.

Linda is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers. She enjoys doing author visits and storytelling at schools and libraries as well as presenting workshops at writing conferences around the country. Visit www.lindaboyden.com

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2 comments on “Linda Boyden – Poetry

  1. […] An excerpt of this poem along with another one of Linda’s poems are being featured in the As Us Literary Journal this month. Congratulations, […]

  2. jenniferphelpswrites
    February 6, 2013

    Love these, Linda. Proud to know you. 🙂

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Issue 3February 14th, 2014
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As Us Indigenous Women’s Literary Journal

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