Monday, May 8, 2017

The Poet: Mary Oliver, “The Eskimos Have No Word for ‘War’”

 “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

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