Sunday 5 May 2024

1 Poem by Valeria Z. Nollan

Saguaro: for Koon Woon

Mighty sentinel of the Sonoran desert
spiny arms spreading towards the sky
Your eyeless face stands guard
in hoary sadness
Your lone column immutable and proud

You hold your loneliness inside,
but I understand you,
for you have whispered your secrets to me:
you sacrifice your knowable form
for unfolding eternal life

Sparrows recognize your generosity,
building their nests
in the crooks of your arms
Your snowy blossoms open in joy
for pollination

Your hidden water quenches multitudes
Tohono O’odham distill your fruit
into sweet syrup for song ceremonies
Brother Guardian of the desert nation,
you remember their stories

(continued, stanza break)

Your massive ribs form the walls
of village houses,
creating shade of yourself
when in your natural form
that shade was denied you


Professor Emerita of Modern Languages; Former Faculty Mentor for Arts and Humanities
Rhodes College; YWCA Memphis Woman Who Made a Difference; Author of The Musical Art of Donald Brown (Lexington Books / Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming, 2024); Author of Rachmaninoff: Cross Rhythms of the Soul (Lexington Books/ Rowman & Littlefield, 2022)

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