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The Taos Hymn: A Poem by Catharine Savage Brosman

Updated on September 13, 2017

Taos Pueblo

Mountain View
Mountain View

A Poem from the Range of Light: A Taos Hymn

Catharine Savage Brosman is an extremely talented poet, writer, traveler, and university professor -- in other words, che is a truly well-rounded scholar and lover of beauty. I recently ran across her poem, A Taos Hymn, fell in love with it; as a result, I decided that I needed to let others know about this poet-singer, yes, singer too, her melody is unmistakable in her poetry. I have taken the liberty to excerpt this particular poem from her book of poetry entitled "Range of Light."

A Taos Hymn

O Spirit of the living God,
O voice of wind, O leavened sod,
made visible in mountain's age,
the water's song, the rippling sage,
dark-shaded canyon, and the whine
of storm through ponderosa pine:
as Christ the Logos hallowed words
of earth—grain, lilies, nesting birds—

and, gesturing toward a desert place,
invoked repose and simple grace,
give benediction to us here
who celebrate the ripened year
in Taos Pueblo's perfect air
with reverence akin to prayer
admiring golden cottonwoods
clear river, and these native goods—

retablos, silver, azure stone,
clay vessels, weavings, awls of bone—
whereby belief and weathered hands
did honor to ancestral lands
and to the great Creator's mind,
which shares its power with mankind,
configuring the endless skies,
divinely formed, for human eyes.

So may these artifacts of earth
remain as evidence of worth
attesting to creation's art
and to holy deserts in the heart
whose blue horizons blaze to fire
and shimmer with divine desire,
God held in azimuthal ken,
redeeming us and the world. Amen.

Other Writings by Catherine

This poem is one of many in the this particular book and her other books of poetry are of similar genre, Catharine looks and sees and transferred that vision of the world to words of extreme grace. She writes one poem concerning D. H. Lawrence that is very interesting in her book of poems entitled, "Breakwater." She is Professor Emerita of French from Tulane University and recently retired. She and her husband married young, separated, and reconnected 40 years later, a miracle that is chronicled in her book of poems, "Under the Pergola."

There are many other books of poems by this prolific author, too numerous to enumerate, and all having a degree of transcendence as Catharine looks at the world and life around her.


About the Taos Pueblo Itself; The Tiwa-speaking People

Taos Pueblo (or Pueblo de Taos) is approximately 1000 years old, it is an ancient pueblo that historically has belonged to this Native American Northern Tiwa tribe of Pueblo people. It lies about one mile from the village of Taos, New Mexico. This pueblo is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the modern United States.

Taos Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos; this eight-fold pueblo grouping consists of the Pueblos of Taos, Picuris, Santa Clara, Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan), San Ildefonso, Nambé, Pojoaque, and Tesuque. The Taos and Piuris Pueblos are Tiwa-speaking and all of the other pueblos are Tewa-speaking; these are two closely related languages of the Kiowa-Tanoan language family. The Taos pueblo community is known for being very private, secretive, and conservative. This community holdings consist of about 95,000 acres of land attached to the pueblo with a population of close to 5,000 residents.

Some of the above information regarding the Pueblos and the Pueblo people was obtained from Wikipedia.


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    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      Yes, the sense of place really comes through here. I have never been to Taos, but do follow that region through the writing and art that comes out of there. It is a very fertile place for the imagination obviously. And yes, what's with the 40 year separation. I keep wanting to make light of that because I am cynical about these things, but will keep that to myself, thanks again jacksson47.

    • jacksson47 profile image

      John Reeder 6 years ago from Reedley, CA

      I like how she is able to put into words the beauty of nature that in many cases the rest of us do not even see. I have been in Taos and throughout all of the beautiful scenery of the Southwest United States and really can appreciate what she portrayed in that one poem. That one view of New Mexico got me hooked and I went looking for her poetry where ever I could find it. I ordered the Range of Light book too right away. If you Google her, you will be able to get more tidbits of her writing and I found it very interesting how she and her husband were able to reconnect after 40 years apart.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you so much for sharing this gifted writer jacksson47, I'm a fan already with just the one poem you selected. Regards, snakeslane