“Dovdna is a very simple joik that the child can easily recognize.”

~ Elin Kåven & Jungle Svonni


I was born from a river of ice

with ancestors clutching hands nearby.


I was born with eyes splashed

with the witness of distant stars.


Born as morning slipped

from night into the neighborhood,


as the doe leaped through the still silhouette

of the barn tree and ran down the dirt road.


Born to conjure glaciers into a traditional

song with sound drawn on coastlines.


And here I am, new from mask of night,

somewhere between sunset and gray light,


where I’ve burrowed out from beneath

the dreams my ancestor women have chanted up


to inhabit this present shape, to inhabit

this rain drenched day intoned with


silt-laden words, like wind over grassflats.





* Elin Kåven & Jungle Svonni, of Beneath the Northern Lights, are my first yoik (joik) teachers.