(18-22 June 1990) after Rudyard Kipling
The blood grows thinner through marriage after marriage, until reasons for hidden differences have little to do with blood— With whispers on the grassy hills, be with us now—be with us now. Ships send their boats to the shore— Soldiers stand with swords and muskets, smelling of salt, demanding furs, and take what they want by force. By the rain on the breathing shores, be with us still—be with us still. Wars come; the old men die; the young cannot remember the stories— On the islands, people forget their way, and need to look for work. For the mist on the hollow cliffs, be with us more—Be with us more. If, distant, ignorant, we claim a heritage we don’t possess, but think we can get what we need from earning and spending money— From swellings under the cold waves, be with us yet—be with us yet. The Aleutian Islands rise like backs of giant whales, stopped in time, and washed up on them is a wealth— the grassy hills, encrusted shores, cliffs falling into swelling depths— jewels across the renewing sea.