Saturday, February 27, 2010

the eskimos have no word for war

Trying to explain it to them

Leaves one feeling ridiculous and obscene.

Their houses, like white bowls,

Sit on a prairie of ancient snowfalls

Caught beyond thaw or the swift changes

Of night and day.

They listen politely, and stride away.

With spears and sleds and barking dogs

To hunt for food. The women wait

Chewing on skins or singing songs,

Knowing that they have hours to spend,

That the luck of the hunter is often late.

Later, by fires and boiling bones

In streaming kettles, they welcome me,

Far kin, pale brother,

To share what they have in a hungry time

In a difficult land. While I talk on

Of the southern kingdoms, cannon, armies,

Shifting alliances, airplanes, power,

They chew their bones, and smile at one another.

- Mary Oliver

to have no word for a thing that is real

does not mean it is not real

but it shows your order of things

your personal communal order of what is real

between the men you eat with, know,

and share with.

you have no word for war.

perhaps that means you have no communities

within earshot that deeply richly believe different

things, and therefore fear the difference

or desire your river and land and coast

I do not know, but there are things I wish were

still a mystery to me. though..

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