POEM: Litany by the Sea

In an abundant wood
Of Queen Anne’s lace
dried and brown like bamboo,
the ant scurries its way over fallen
bramble and raspberry thorn,
twisted California poppy blooming orange.
As I lay there, intertwined
I hear an old man
with an ancient smile
in simple language say –
“Every step is a Prayer.” 1

Every feather in a wing
every sail set to sea
thread woven as cloth
horn blast in the fog
every step is a Prayer;
one hand

Every medicine taken
line and lure cast
ribbon tied in a bow
hand in the collection plate
home run or base hit;
each one
a Prayer.

Every blood draw and needle stick
tongue taste of envelope glue,
spatula slipped under bubbling eggs,
tender kiss before going to sleep –
each is a step
a test of faith;
every step is a Prayer.

Know each measure of your breath,
the rise and fall
in and out of each moment; 
of every step you take.

Every step is a Prayer
One hand

1. Wallace Blak quoting his granfather, Black Elk
Copyright Mark Hannan 1998


  1. This is beautiful. I would love to hear the “revised” version, although I can’t imagine that adding new energies to this piece would improve it significantly, as so much of its beauty lies in its way of speaking such profound truth in a very simple way. I suppose you could play around with that if you wanted, although personally I think it is lovely as is.


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