Poetry Appearing in Poetry In Motion® New York

Magic Words

Edward Field

after Nalungiaq

In the 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
* * *
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with the permission of Edward Field.

 

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