An inaugural poem by Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani commissioned by Oregon Community Foundation and performed for the first time at the OCF Annual Meeting on May 10, 2024

You do not need to be fully formed to go fully forward You do not need to fully go forward to go forward
You do not need to move, to go forward
How does the morning approach our waking by what slow rose does it color us in?
At which point does the dew arrive?
How does the night approach our arms?
At which point do the crickets begin
Anis Mojganiand the toads start to stir in their song
all while being where they were before they began?
Forward o forward go
whether quick heeled or in oak stillness
Forward o forward go in greening leaf
Forward in red leaf too
in orange amber glow of the end
––what end
––what finish
––forward into the dark go
forward go not as pioneer
no––go forward as seedling
go forward as guest
go forward not as the piper but as the notes blown
Neither settler nor leader
nor bearer of any flag––
if there is a flag in your hands
plough the dirt
dig a hole
not to plant a pole and banner
but to bury them both
Gather yourself only under whatever banner ripples invisible Bury any flag that your hands can touch
and see what might sprout then instead from those threads May new cloth be woven by way of work
woven by limbs threaded between
Forward o forward holder of hand
forward go you forager of forest and fellowship
You smile igniters you seed stirrers
What might your fists hold?
What might your fist open to?
Big wind and little gale
Carry what little things you carry
into a next field
into the gentle asking earth beneath our feet asking beneath us to be Go forward bare booted even when
thick soled
ground touching skin
Go forward here––where country becomes coast
Go forward and become water––what is forward to an ocean? What direction is progress––our shore or
the other?
Our inlet or the farther side? Neither, or both?
Move both ways
Go forward to places you know
Learn in the back and forth of it all
What will you bring between the traversing?
Lead with what you have to offer
Lighthouse your heart when you are lost
Be quiet when your body has the floor
Do not tarry to listen
Marry yourself to the joy that pulls at us unseen
Patience of action
––starling map yourself
Lead together
Be a beacon inside your own body
Be a newer knowing of a world already here
Collapse any edges
Build low walls
Opposite of conquer
Be called by sunshine to warm what needs warming
Be warmed by what already is warm
Invite yourself to invite others to invite themselves to invite others What season sits inside you
––turn with it
The apple trees in our blood begin as seeds
––feed and sit beneath and feed again
In what direction do you step when the star directly over you calls
––is it calling you to it or is it pushing you, waves and current under the hull
Apostle of shovel and outstretched vulnerability go forward into the hour
Go forward into cutting the hour loose
Go forward not to go forward
––what new affection may brood between us when we do?
We may not know where we are until we are there
This is alright
This is okay
What corner of ourselves does the sky over us not touch? What together do we all sit under?
From here where might we go?

About Anis Mojgani