Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Paula Gunn Allen

"I have noticed that as soon as you have soldiers the story is called history. Before their arrival it is called myth, folktale, legend, fairy tale, oral poetry, ethnography. After the soldiers arrive, it is called history. " - Paula Gunn Allen.

Paula Gunn Allen, the revolutionary lesbian Native American and Lebanese writer, teacher and cultural historian passed away of lung cancer on May 29.

More information on Paula Gunn Allen here and here.

Two poems by Paula Gunn Allen:

Some Like Indians Endure

dykes remind me of indians
like indians dykes
are supposed to die out
or forget
or drink all the time
or shatter
go away
to nowhere
to remember what will happen
if they dont

they dont
even though it
and they remember
they dont

because the moon remembers
because so does the sun
because so do the stars
and the persistent stubborn
of the earth



She stood, a weed tall in the sun.
She grew like that and went
over it again and again trying to be tall
trying not to die in the drying sun
the seeming turbulence of waiting
the sun so yellow
so still

There was nothing else to do. It was like that
in her day, and the sun who rose so bright
so full of fire reminded her of that.
It was the sun that did it; it was the rain.
She stood it all, and more:
the water pounding from the high rock face
of the mesas that made her yard
she knew where she was growing. Didn't
she know what sun will do, what happens to weeds
when their growing time's done? Didn't she care?
She got the sun into her, though.
The fire. She drank the rain for fuel.
She stood there in the day, growing,
trying to stand tall like a right weed would.

The drying was part of it.
The dying. Come from heat, the transformation
of fire. The rain helped because it understood
why she just stood there, growing,
tall in the heat and bright.


Becky C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky C. said...

Thank you, somehow I have never been introduced to Miss Allen. Too bad it took her death to do it--happens all too often with poets.


Joan McMillan said...

I love Paula Gunn Allen's work. Thank you for posting this, Kate. What a wonderful writer!