In Beauty May I Walk – a Navajo chant

We’re not walking to Ankara tomorrow, we’re taking a plane. Nonetheless while preparing our show we came across a piece of Navajo poetry called “In Beauty May I Walk”, which we’d like to share with you. We like to imagine that this would traditionally be performed in the way that the Henry Brothers do their poetry activities: by the whole group, standing up, with rhythm, and with actions.

In beauty……………………may I walk…
In beauty …………………..may I walk.
All day long……………….. may I walk.
Through the returning seasons …………………may I walk.

Beautifully will I possess again.
Beautifully birds . . .
Beautifully joyful birds

On the trail marked with pollen ………………may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet ……………may I walk.
With dew about my feet ………………………may I walk.

With beauty …………….may I walk.
With beauty before me,……………. may I walk.
With beauty behind me, …………..may I walk.
With beauty above me, ……………may I walk.
With beauty below me, ……………..may I walk.
With beauty all around me, …………….may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, ………………may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, ……………..may I walk.

It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

A Navajo Indian Prayer of the Second Day of the Night Chant (anonymous)

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About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to istanbuljohnm@hotmail.co.uk.
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