MP3 Joy Harjo - She Had She Some Horses
Harjo''s classic She Had Some Horses is now on CD as spoken word. Three bonus tracks of songs included.
23 MP3 Songs
SPOKEN WORD: Poetry, WORLD: Native American
She Had Some Horses first galloped onto the scene in the mid eighties as a book of poetry. It has become a classic. Now, for the first time, a much-requested spoken word CD!
"Thirty years ago my journey as a poet was raw and fresh. I liked nothing more than dancing half the night, then staying up and writing in the transition hours between dark and dawn. Like dancing, I didn’t think about poetry; I was poetry. Poetry was the wild spin of rhythm and spirit, decked out in cowboy boots and drenched with sweat. I just had to get out of the way and hammer it out until shine emerged out of fear. I was accompanied by bravado, desire and contradiction. Some nights I failed; some nights a poem rose up from the darkness and began to speak on its own. That’s how it worked in the post Horseshoe Bend/Wounded Knee era, and like everyone else I was trying to figure out a strategy for vision and integrity, how to form it from the ashes of the takeover, with two young children on my back. The length of poems was dictated by the sleep patterns of children. If I were to have stopped to think about it; it would have all fallen apart.
And it did all fall apart, those long nights of stalking myself as I fought, fell in love, questioned and failed in yet one more age of struggle for indigenous and women’s rights.
Then there were horses.
The invention of horses took millenniums. First they were dreamed, starting with a rhythm beyond the pace of heartbreak. And then there were the four winds, and the shiver of delight in sheer life. One late afternoon as I drove the interstate north from Las Cruces a horse appeared to me. First, by smell so familiar and ancient I was awed to tears. I’d lived and died with this horse and would agree to do so again if asked. The appearance of this horse marked the beginning of writing the poems that would be come the book of poetry, She Had Some Horses.
The story of my family is interlinked with horses. Monahwee, one of my great-great-grandfathers was able to manipulate time and space when he traveled on the back of his favorite black horse. He and his horse would leave a place at the same time as other riders and arrive at the destination long before it was possible in linear time. He had horse magic, knew how to talk with horses, understand them. The gift of horses continues to show up. My cousin was a champion barrel racer , my son’s name means “lover of horses”. He was sure and fearless on a horse when he was two-years-old . Horses appeared in a ceremony to help a granddaughter and were welcomed. They came forth in my poems in that time when I needed what they had to teach me.
There were also the horse songs. Simon Ortiz used to sing a horse song that he had heard from a Navajo man who sang it either “Beauty Roanhorse” or “Buny Roanhorse”. Within that song were railroad tracks, despair, scarlet red cliffs, and beautiful horses running across the land. That song was haunting. Ortiz made a horse song for his daughter that may have been an unknown precedent for She Had Some Horses, unknown because the horses just seemed to appear. I also remember a traveling song by the Apache singer/songwriter Paul Ortega that I used to play over and over while I wrote through the night for sustenance.
I could not have brought forth these poems without the inspiration of the poets Audre Lorde, Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, Luis Borges, Leslie Silko, N. Scott Momaday, James Welch, Linda Hogan and Gloria Bird. Nor without the shaman/healer who sang a poem then became the poem on all fours. This was my first inspiration, when I knew what poetry was capable of