The tundra can soften, it can swallow you.
An eye accustomed to mountains must learn
to see small, to see the tiny pattern of lichen
crawling across an unbounded landscape.
Land and sea, both flat as paper, only a thin
line between. Even the colors are close.
A village set down here is an alien thing,
an artifact on stilts, unlikely and unreliable.
Here is a world without edge. Here there
is no horizon. Here, you know you are small.
The bear is a large thing. The sea is a large
thing. The ice is a large and dangerous thing.
There are people who know the tundra,
but you are not of those people. You
are small. You are weak, and all that
you know is useless.
Last week, we read Mary Oliver's Cold Poem for discussion; this week our prompt was to take something out of what it stirs up in you and write your own poem. For me, of course, it stirred up Alaska.