Poem-a-Day Friday: Jean Valentine

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I discovered this little gem in a pile of photo-copied poems I’d left behind in my Young Life office three years ago. (Do you really have to ask why I had photo-copied poems in my Young Life office? Don’t all folks in youth ministry need stacks of poems near by?) My former boss/friend passed the box along to my mother in law so that I happily discovered it while we were at her house last week.

I’ve been reading through them and thinking about poets whose work I’ve not read much of. Jean Valentine is one of them. Her Collected poems, Door in the Mountain, should be on my reading list. Second after Natasha Trethewey. (Don’t ask me when I’m going to do all this reading.)

There is so much to love in this poem. The smallness of it, the weight of the name I am, the gift of being found.

It’s not an Indian Summer right now. It’s a Very Real Summer here in Austin. But I’m going to post this anyway…

 

Little Song in Indian Summer

By Jean Valentine

I am
is my name and your name. I am is
the name we are finding,
I am is the
name who is finding us, is
(standing still in the high grass, in the hot sun)
the one I always wanted to find, is
the one I always wanted to find,
not mother, not child, oh you
I need
who are glad
I am I
with your green eyes even
with welcome, with letting go.

 

Jean Valentine, “Little Song in Indian Summer” from Home Deep Blue. Copyright ©1989 by Jean Valentine, Alice James Books.

 

 

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