Canyon de Chelly Echoes Wendy Sue Gist Poetry

local_library Canyon de Chelly Echoes

by Wendy Sue Gist

Published in Issue No. 180 ~ May, 2012

There is silence. In: silence.

There is no silence. In: footsteps, breath, stir of stream, dry breeze dry.

There is sky, blue corn blue. “The sun has been good to us,” the Navajo woman speaks

softly arched over a host of turquoise turtles & arrowheads & bears & juniper seed beads.

There are birds. Up high, an inky raven spellbinds: soars with shadow cast on sandstone,

teases red tail hawk into a scream. Pictographs of scorpion & four directions on rock face.

There is place. “Over there, crumbling, used to be four stories high, Anasazi.”

White House Ruins. Tan horse tethered to barbwire fence; a blow of raw manure flows.

There are people. Artisan shines silver & stone, Diné jewelry. “I remember you,”

recalls the man; his face melds into red stone of cliff walls.

There is history. Black & white photograph. “That’s my family here,

shot by Ansel Adams in the 1940’s,” says the Navajo man at canyon’s depth.

There is art. “I use acrylic paint. It dries fast,” says the painter; his hand sweeps

Kokopelli on chosen sandstone slabs beneath sprawl of cottonwood nude. “Lasts forever.”

There are storytellers. “Pick up the art. Feel how light the rock.” Raise to winter

sun & it sparkles like the water we crossed to land in this place.


Played the flute down to keep the people happy.

The journey in, the journey out.


Healing hand of Medicine Man.

Journey of Life.

Sun & rain.

The four seasons.

There are visitors. Did we miss it? He nods, “Aoo`.”

There is moment. Hoof prints stamped into cool sand. Echoes: lost in wonder, earth & sky.

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Wendy Sue Gist currently lives and writes in the Navajo Nation with her husband and two dogs. Her recent poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Rio Grande Review and The Tulane Review.
  • Anonymous

    Excellent poem. Captures the spirit of the canyon and Navajoland.

  • Monty

    Nice work..

  • Monty

    Nice work. Liked the flow.