American Life in Poetry: Column 770

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Alberto Rios is a highly acclaimed American poet who lives and teaches in Arizona. I found this poem of community and peace in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, published by Grayson Books of West Hartford, Connecticut. The most recent book by Alberto Rios is A Small Story about the Sky, Copper Canyon Press.

We Are of a Tribe

We plant seeds in the ground
And dreams in the sky,
 
Hoping that, someday, the roots of one
Will meet the upstretched limbs of the other.
 
It has not happened yet.
We share the sky, all of us, the whole world:
 
Together, we are a tribe of eyes that look upward,
Even as we stand on uncertain ground.
 
The earth beneath us moves, quiet and wild,
Its boundaries shifting, its muscles wavering.
 
The dream of sky is indifferent to all this,
Impervious to borders, fences, reservations.
 
The sky is our common home, the place we all live.
There we are in the world together.
 
The dream of sky requires no passport.
Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime.
 
Look up. Stay awhile. Let your breathing slow.
Know that you always have a home here.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2014 by Alberto Rios, "We Are of a Tribe," from Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, (Grayson Books, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Alberto Rios and the publisher.   Introduction copyright © 2020 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.