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Joy Harjo's 'Eagle Poem': Prayer for a Change in The World

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Joy Harjo is a Native American Poet. Harjo started writing poetry to make her voice heard and spoke for the Native American women. 1973 was the year of awareness for the Native American issues during the native rights movements. At this time, Native Americans were being dispersed, disregarded and Harjo couldn’t sit in silence and let this happen. I feel that this poem is really about the native people and all the violence and fear they endured, and she is praying for change. A world without violence, and inequality.

An approach to convey one’s thoughts and ideas and also to inspire readers is through poetry. To be able to comprehend what a poem is saying you must analyze it. This poem was really persuasive to me because of its positive inspiration and feel. Also, the way that it makes you analyze your life (how you live it). Harjo explains the circle of life perfectly. One thing which I loved about Harjo’s poem is that the prayers she discusses aren’t to a specific being, hence it tends to be whatever we put our faith in, or no matter whether we have religion. Harjo uses in her sonnets is styled in nature.

In Eagle Poem, she cites the contrast between nature and faith in that which can’t be known. The cycle of the lives, she urges, follows a ‘genuine circle of motion, like the arc of the eagle shot by the breeze. Harjo’s “Eagle Poem” deals with all the circle of life and prayers. It does this through animals and nature (life), as represented through the eagle who flies in circles.

She urges that while being unified with nature, we believe we’re in a place wherein we haven’t envisioned and the things where we couldn’t imagine anything better to do in that relaxing and luminous place. Harjo utilizes a metaphor that represents a prayer to an eagle and addresses how supplications are out individuals’ capacity to control. Harjo passes on how frequently prayers are said and carried out of individuals’ souls and to “sky, to earth, to sun, to moon.” Harjo emphasizes the acknowledgment that throughout the poem we’re genuinely blessed and honored because we had been conceived and to die shortly within a genuine circle of motion like the eagle.

In lines 1-3, ”To pray you open your whole self. To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon. To one whole voice that is you,” means you are welcome to open yourself, to your voice, your reality, and that voice will be entirety whole. In lines 4-8,” And know there’s more. You can’t see, can’t hear; can’t know except in minutes. Steadily growing, and in languages. That aren’t always sound but other. Circles of motion” means that there is much more past what our small minds can grasp through sound and sight; that sound can be ‘circles of motion, not simply the dialects we believe we used to convey.

In lines 9-12, “Like the eagle that Sunday morning. Over Salt River. Circled in the blue sky. In wind, swept our hearts clean. With sacred wings. Now eagle becomes a different language that could talk to us. The term swept our hearts clean With sacred wings always takes my breath away, no matter how often I talk or listen to it. This also is prayer.

In lines 13-15, ”We see you, see ourselves and understand. That we must take the utmost care. And kindness in all things,” she’s showing to us that the eagle is circling over is helping us to remember ourselves, of our duty to act with caution and graciousness constantly.

In lines 16-23, ”Breathe in, knowing we are made from. All this, and breathe, knowing. We are truly blessed because we, were born, and die shortly within a legitimate circle of motion, Like eagle rounding out the morning, within us,” means the circle of existence, the present to be supposed and to perish, resembles the eagle, that bit of us inside that knows the entirety of this. In traces 24-26,” We hope that it will be carried out. In attractiveness. In beauty,” this is her prayer, that this will be finished in excellence. We ought to discover approaches to make attractiveness in this cruel and ruthless world. May you go through your own time in attractiveness. That final wish is certifiably not how-to; it’s pure unadorned prayer. For assistance from God.

This poem is convincing because it permits the reader to open up their minds to new ideas and ideas. The way the eagle makes a “circle at the blue sky” is a symbol of how existence, as a circle, is continuous, with no end or a start. Towards the conclusion of the poem, she says “in beauty”, which will be a connotation to something every person expects in their life. This poem shows how calmness and tranquility could be obtained through prayer and nature.

In conclusion, this poem was for individuals to look at things in a new light. For example, the native people were mistreated, and this was Harjo’s chance to make her and their voices heard. And she has been praying for this change in the world. To have a world of peace, positivity, love, beauty basically a world of no violence.

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Joy Harjo’s ‘Eagle Poem’: Prayer for a Change in the World. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from
“Joy Harjo’s ‘Eagle Poem’: Prayer for a Change in the World.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
Joy Harjo’s ‘Eagle Poem’: Prayer for a Change in the World. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Jun. 2022].
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