Poetry: On the Edge by Charlene Blue Horse

Recently I was looking for inspiration for a poem and got lost in the expertly crafted poetry that I’ve collected over the years. When I read this one again, I knew it had to be shared.

ON THE EDGE

Yes, I lived on the edge of Mother Earth
Then, but ran my toes through her green hair.
Still, my heart lives within her heart and beats
With a similar yet quicker music.

And I too, remember that spring of laughter.
The music of love that fell like water from a
Cliff, spread like a child’s perfect hoop.
My heart a gold and black polka dotted skirt
Flared over toes in spiked heels that brushed
That precarious edge.

Remember that hot, humid afternoon that honored
Elders at Ghost Hawk Park, and the Thunders drummed
Us home, sang and danced against the sky, let down
Skirts of water while I danced drenched in warm rain
And laughter? You watched from the safety of the
Dry worried house.

I lived on the edge, then. Now, I walk quiet
On moccasined feet, feed birds, not lions.
Sometimes, I lift my voice in song, borrow words
From the young one, long ago, who stepped back
Over the edge. “There was a man I loved so dearly
I will see my man again.” How we laughed
When the buck sprang from woods below.

— Charlene Blue Horse

Charlene Blue Horse, Lecturer
English and Minority Affairs
B.S., M.S.T., Portland State University
Ogalala Lakota poet, speaker and teacher.

  • Yvonne He

    It’s really beautiful, do you know anything about the background of this poem?

    • I don’t, Yvonne. In fact, I’ve found very little information about Charlene Blue Horse. I’m glad you enjoyed it and if you discover anything about the background, please come back and share.

      • DoctorRick

        I knew her as a poetess in Portland, Oregon in the early 1970’s. She used the last name “Lowry” at that time. We took some classes together at PSU and had a wonderful friendship. RIP Charlene.

        • How exciting! You were blessed to have a friendship with her. I wish I could find more of her poetry as well.

    • I don’t, Yvonne. In fact, I’ve found very little information about Charlene Blue Horse. I’m glad you enjoyed it and if you discover anything about the background, please come back and share.

  • Really beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome! I’d forgotten about it until I stumbled on it the other day. Reading it through older eyes makes it even more special. I too walked on the edge when I was young. *sigh*