What does the poem "Remember" by Joy Harjo mean?

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Tressa Beahan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The speaker begins each line of the poem with the titular “Remember,” a repetition that emphasizes the importance of the action of remembering.

To best answer your question, I will briefly paraphrase the poem.

The first few lines exhort the reader to remember the natural elements of earth, including the stars and sunset. One might interpret these as being representative of the different stages of life: birth/childhood, adulthood, and old age.

After this, Harjo instructs the reader honor to honor their parents, who were necessary to life.

Then, the speaker describes how the reader is a part of the earth itself and has a duty to get to know the natural world on a deep level.

Finally, the poem implies that the reader should get to know the truths of the universe and understand their connection to these truths.

Overall, this poem can be interpreted as a list of advice on how to live a fulfilling, purposeful life and achieve enlightenment and satisfaction.

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This beautiful poem is a reminder for...

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carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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