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A History of Kindness

By Linda Hogan
A History of Kindness by Linda Hogan digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Old Mother

Sitting on the large stone old mother says
I feel it breathing. And it is, as if she opened
the world life where everything does
breathe like the waves of far ocean
taking in air, giving out the cloud waters
passing over us right now.
The bison breathed this air, she says,
and people from other nations.
Don't you hear it
all singing, even the stars above
hidden by daylight, the waters beneath us,
and the first cry of your children when they arrive
from the birth waters to air.
She is the one
showing a way
as she points her feather.
Every path is right, she says. It matters
not which one you follow, just breathe and sing
as you pass along, loving every other traveler.


The Buffalo Again

This morning I woke to find the buffalo out behind the horses.
It was eating the longer blades of grass. I worried about blades.
I worried about its tongue. Then I thought it wanted to speak.
Old Mother believed it wanted to tell us
about the long great


absence


the silence.


Absences

Who knows the deep tunnels of snakes
and that their dens near the spring
have been lived in a thousand generations?

They shed their skin so perfectly
even the eye remains in the body sleeve
with scale, rattle, reptilian odor,
all of a piece near the scraping stone.

Such absences remind me of how the missing
remains present,
my uncle's toes shot off,
his phantom pain
with no nerve or bone, no flesh
to back it up,
but still hurting.

I know what’s gone
can aggrieve deep as the forest once here,
all the invisible creature life
still falling unseen
through deep leaves and branches downed,
the majestic endangered missing
the beautiful gone.

Absence is the missing presence
that travels everywhere at once.

One day my eyes were awake
and I have to tell you
I saw the spirit of my horse
and how she lived with herself
standing tall in the field,
then bent, eating
the ends of green grasses.
I hope it is true,
that we are never so far away
and the absent will remain
with us forever
even the remembered and loved child
was taken away,
but when do we have something back?

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About Linda Hogan

A major American writer and the recipient of the 2007 Mountains and Plains Booksellers Spirit of the West Literary Achievement Award, LINDA HOGAN is a Chickasaw poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, teacher, and activist who has spent most of her life in Oklahoma and Colorado. Her fiction has garnered many honors, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination and her poetry collections have received the American Book Award, Colorado Book Award, and a National Book Critics Circle nomination. A volunteer and consultant for wildlife rehabilitation and endangered species programs, Hogan has also published essays with the Nature Conservancy and Sierra Club.

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