What does the poem "Remember" by Joy Harjo mean?
The poem aims at instilling a sense of gratitude in us towards everything that constitutes our environment. It underscores the point how inextricably we are linked to one another and the natural environment. To achieve peace and harmony, it’s important that we do “remember” how we owe our existence to all that constitute the environment – from our parents to plants, trees and animals; from the sky to the earth; from the sun and the moon to the wind, and, finally, to the whole universe.
The poet might be afraid that man is growing too selfish and detached from its environment. So, she...
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“Remember” relies on anaphora, or repetition. The speaker uses the word “remember” fifteen times in the poem, which might therefore be considered a poem or catechism of gratitude for life and all that it offers. The speaker is a person who connects present existence with past existence, even before those who are now alive were alive. The listener is a person, probably younger than the speaker, who is benefiting from the insights and wisdom of the speaker, who is, in effect, a seer with oracular powers. The implication of the ideas in this poem is that our perception of the universe is an endless continuum that began before our birth and will continue beyond our lives.