Lean into me


Starlight and Saguaros –  photo by Greg McCown


Culture and the Universe


By Simon J. Ortiz


Two nights ago

in the canyon darkness,

only the half-moon and stars,

only mere men.

Prayer, faith, love,


We are measured

by vastness beyond ourselves.

Dark is light.

Stone is rising.


I don’t know

if humankind understands

culture: the act

of being human

is not easy knowledge.


With painted wooden sticks

and feathers, we journey

into the canyon toward stone,

a massive presence

in midwinter.


We stop.

Lean into me.

The universe

sings in quiet meditation.


We are wordless:

I am in you.


Without knowing why

culture needs our knowledge,

we are one self in the canyon.

And the stone wall

I lean upon spins me

wordless and silent

to the reach of stars

and to the heavens within.


It’s not humankind after all

nor is it culture

that limits us.

It is the vastness

we do not enter.

It is the stars

we do not let own us.



Simon Ortiz, “Culture and the Universe” from Out There Somewhere. Copyright © 2002 by Simon Ortiz. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.






<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/culture/”>Culture</a&gt;



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