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Poetry Friday: “The Way In” by Linda Hogan

By (May 17, 2013) No Comment


The pink and purple and white canopies I mentioned recently have mostly given way to leafy clouds, the piercing yellow-green of springtime.

The hardiest bad-ass stems and tendrils are forcing themselves through cracks in sidewalks and retaining walls. Road and bridge repair crews have set up shop amid blooming orange traffic cones. College commencements and school graduations and artful recitals are underway and continuing.

Domestic progress is having its way.

Linda Hogan’s poem The Way In reminds us:

Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.
Sometimes the way in is a song.
But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding,
and beauty. …

The road to abundance necessarily requires the work of bodies and minds and spirits (where else comes the song?). I’m not sure what to make of “the three ways in the world” that are offered, two of which appear to contain sharp and pointy ends. Maybe the remaining handful of lines will clarify?

… To rise through hard earth, be plant
desiring sunlight, believing in water. …

The final five lines are a beautiful recounting of the way things work; they comfort and confront. To bring forth something that is not now here, something that is here must give way. And it won’t be easy; transformation takes work:

Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.

My domestic progress these days will eventually encompass the beginning of the summer, but I must first endure the wintry end of another fiscal year. My desk blooms too, but with invoices and reports and spreadsheets.

The hardiest bad-ass documents are indeed pushing their way up and out, as much as I wish them cordoned by blooming orange traffic cones. I labor under a canopy of, yes, green, but the dollar-bill kind. So, my efforts at finishing tasks and meeting deadlines may not be as lithe and winsome as those of a dance recital, but there will be a certain effortless grace (if I do it right).

A budget? No fuss.


Linda Hogan is Writer-in-Residence for the Chickasaw Nation. Among her works of poetry are: The Book of Medicines, Indios: A Poem … A Performance, and Rounding the Human Corners from which “The Way In” has been drawn.

(“Honey” from zizzybaloobah / cc by-nc)