Elizabeth Spencer Spragins

Bears Ears

(A Tawddgyrch Cadwynog)

The suited men
Wear greed in guise
Of smiling lies
To bearless den.

With loaded pen
They legalize
The theft of skies
And lands again.

At dawn of day
The strangers start
To loot cliff art
And pots of clay.

They rob Diné,
Who hold to heart
A path apart:
The Blessingway.

We bend no bow
When white-faced ones
Aim paper guns
At hawk and crow.

But red rocks glow
For golden suns
Though justice shuns
The Navajo.

~Bears Ears National Monument, Utah


Diné, a name for the Navajo, means “the people” and is pronounced “Di Nay.”

The Blessingway is a complex Navajo ceremony intended to restore spiritual harmony.

On December 4, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that reduced the size of Bears Ears National Monument, which encompasses sacred lands of the Navajo, by 85 per cent.

When Dreams Bloom

(A Clogyrnach)

A floral river glows with flame
That winter could not quench or tame.
A riot of red
And gold gleams ahead!
Rainbow bed
Calls my name.

The sunlight slants; the gardens teem
With irises of blue and cream
In bearded disguise
That dazzle my eyes.
Then fireflies
Spark a dream.

The Lady of the Wood walks here
Beneath her twilight chandelier.
A mist trimmed in lace
That curtains this place
Hides her face—
Night is near.

She makes no sound; her feet are bare.
Her silver strands of tangled hair
Encircle and bind
The heart left behind
With a prayer.

~Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, Virginia


Elizabeth Spencer Spragins is a poet and writer who taught in North Carolina community colleges for more than a decade before returning to her home state of Virginia. Her work has been published extensively in Europe, Asia, and North America. She is the author of two poetry collections: With No Bridle for the Breeze: Ungrounded Verse (Shanti Arts Publishing) and The Language of Bones: American Journeys Through Bardic Verse (Kelsay Books).

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