Gerald Vizenor

Dec 30, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories

Almost Ashore

winter sea
over my shoes
and bright
round stones
at san gregorio

every wave
turns a season
forests adrift
empty shells
memory of fire
so faraway
in the mountains
and canyons

silent pools
raise my faces
by early tide
slight my hand
almost ashore

light breaks
over the plovers
certain steps
my traces
blood, bone, stone
turn natural
and heavy waves
rush the sand

“Almost Ashore” from Almost Ashore. Copyright © 2006 by Gerald Vizenor. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.

decorate the last fences
down to the sea

paper boats
sail on a crack of thunder
out to sea

Two haiku poems from Cranes Arise, Nodin Press.

Selected passage from a chapter in my novel, Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, University of Nebraska Press.

The sword was mine, a natural, driftwood bounty shaped by steady ocean currents to fit my tiny hands.  I raised that sword over my head, slowly turned about to my shadow, and practiced the cuts, thrusts, and blocks of a seven-year-old hafu ronin on the beach, the serious, solitary, ingenuous pantomime of a samurai warrior.

My wooden sword, a natural contour, had washed ashore near the orphanage at Oiso Long Beach on Sagami Bay in Japan.  I was roused by a sense of tradition and secret power, and at first touch that sword cast a mighty shadow on the beach.

The ocean game me another chance to create a lasting presence in the world.  My heart beat with the waves as the bony clouds raced out to sea.  Nearby, four ravens strutted on the beach and teased me with garrulous croaks.  The sun warned the sand, my hands, and drew me into a natural pocket of solace stories.


Gerald Vizenor is Distinguished Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico.  He has published more than thirty books. Native Liberty: Natural Reason and Cultural Survivance, and Shrouds of White Earth are his most recent books.  Vizenor has received the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award.

Hibernal 2012, Littoral Currents

About the Editors

Casey R. Schulke grew up along the Kuskokwim River in a rural Athabascan village in Alaska fishing for king salmon and mushing her sled dog team. She now resides on the shores of Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. Casey's a poet, a naturalist, a dog-lover, has two birds, and is married to a wonderful man.
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