Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Love Life of the Eskimo



author’s note:

Someone once asked me if I ever wrote love poetry...

I replied: I hope there’s love in all my poems.


THE LOVE LIFE OF THE ESKIMO

The Eskimos
have as many names for love
as they do for snow--

my Northern friends told me:
in such a brutal world
they need to realize
the myriad expressions
of love.

Of course,
they’ve a name for romantic love--

a name that shares a root
with all the other love names

including the name
for motherly love
which only varies slightly from
the name for fatherly love.

The name for
the fierce devotional love
a dog has for its whip master
is used as well
for the love the Eskimos feel
for a life so harsh:

a name also given to death
as one nears the end--yes
they've chosen to embrace death

they say:
accept the inevitable
with joy amid the sadness
.

Likewise,
they welcome the long night:

though the Winter often
shuns their offering
they know they must love
the dark and the storm
and the deepest cold
in order to thrive

and besides...

the storm, the cold, the dark
have made them who they are--

so shouldn't they give thanks?

They honor those elements as gods
because they want to elevate their love

and in so doing, elevate themselves.

I can understand--
I want to elevate my own life...

for that reason
I asked the Eskimos to give me
all their names for love--

I would incant a love word
with each step
and in that way, realize
the love I truly feel
through every living day...

but my Northern friends told me
they also love poetry

and if I didn't try to find
my own names for love
I'd never be a poet...



© 2015, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: the book

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