April is National Poetry Month: Magic Words

I first wrote about this anthology in November. You can find that post here. This volume had been recommended to me by a former student Shawna and I have returned to it again and again. It is an international anthology of poems with translations edited by Czeslaw Milosz. This reminded me of a conversation with one of my students the other day. He was reflected on the way of life for the native people on the reservation and how he would be living if other cultures had never come on the land. I will share this poem with him.

Magic Words

In a very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen-
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That's the way it was.

translated from the Inuit by Edward Field

1 comment:

  1. IEG: I just bounced over from Cedar Street's...I really do have to turn the O2 down. All I can say is hmmm.


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