Sunday, March 02, 2014

“Hogan” a poem by Archie Washburn


Sitting against
The flying dust of wind.
Here and there flows the old raggy
Long johns.


A hogan is a traditional Navajo circular mud and stick house. Having visited the Navajo reservation and seen a hogan in real life, its low, reddish brown form fitting in well with the red brown sweep of desert vistas, having felt the wind blow across the rocks and around the Monument Valley towers and buttes, I can see the flag of underwear in Archie Washburn’s poem shaking out its white story, making almost homey that human-dwarfing expanse.

With “Hogan” Washburn has crafted a cinquain, an American verse form inspired by Japanese verse forms like the haiku and tanka. Two syllables go in the first line, four in the second, and so forth.

source: Voices from Wah’Kon-Tah: contemporary poetry of Native Americans edited by Robert K. Dodge and Joseph B. McCullough

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