“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Life Was Wonderful



(Sunrise at Grand Canyon, photo from the files of Mompriest)


I am filled with joy
when the day dawns quietly
over the roof of the sky.

Life was wonderful
in winter.
But did winter make me happy?
No, I always worried
about hides for boot-soles
and for boots;
and if there'd be enough
for all of us.
Yes, I worried constantly.

Life was wonderful
in summer.
But did summer make me happy?
No, I always worried
about reindeer skins and rugs for the platform.
Yes, I worried constantly.

Life was wonderful
when you stood at your fishing hole
on the ice.
But was  I happy waiting at my fishing hole?

No, I was always worried
for my little hook,
in case it never got a bite.
Yes, I worried constantly.

Life was wonderful
when you danced in the feasting-house
But did this make me any happier?
No, I always worried
I'd forget my song.
Yes, I worried constantly.

Life was wonderful
And I still feel joy
each time the day-break
whitens the dark sky
each time the sun
climbs over the roof of the sky.

(Eskimo Song, from "Earth Prayers" edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon; Harper Collins: 1991)