03 October 2010

Aleutian Heart

Linguists argue about Inuits
and Yupiks and Aleuts,
their sophistication on snow
become legend
to non-aboriginal minds

They claim 30, 40, even 70
or more words for snow.
Scientists say they must
because knowing snow
is a survival imperative

You will die easily in the white
when eyes can't tell between
soft and deep, packed and solid,
step in and plunge to the waist
eyes rimed in frost, crystal tears

Its a wonder that arguments occur
about snow and ice, the subtle shifts
between 'aput' and 'pukak'
'mauja' and 'massak'
'mangokpok' and 'massalerauvok'

Because snow, in short, is snow
Like grief, in short, is grief.
Minds see the trees
while hearts see the forest
Truths obscured by language

Numbers of words only matter
to connoisseurs, and professionals;
the broken heart will ever understand
thirty words or none: in the end,
cold pain melts in the heat of love


  1. it's those little intricacies that can cause the greatest pain sometimes - please understand me, please get what i'm saying, please interpret this the way it was intended. someone else's grief is an opportunity for one to learn, to be humble, to give without expectation, and to understand that you give what that person needs, not what you think they need. sigh...

  2. "Minds see the trees
    while hearts see the forest"

    How true that is....

  3. The last two lines? sigh! So so true.

  4. Even heavily caffeinated I can sit still for that one. ~Mary

  5. Good God, IG, I've spent part of the day in tears, feeling disconnected and unmoored and then I come here...

    Between you and Eco Grrl, I can't tell which one of you is tapping my phone lines...


  6. Yeah, I'm not sure my heart understands any words at all when it is grieving.

  7. To finish that thought, it is the mind that takes over where the heart can't continue on.

  8. Grief is one of those things that no words can really touch.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...