Leo Yankevich

Silver Star - 3,233 Points (October 30,1961 / Farrell, Pennsylvania)

Pilitak - Poem by Leo Yankevich

The agéd Eskimo, once "sangilak, "
the strongest of them all, prepares to die.
Today he will not shield a slanted eye,
nor starving in the evening stagger back.

Having fought a bear and years of cold,
fresh salmon never leave his fingertips,
and caribou blood never parts his lips.
And yet, he's lost his balance and his hold.

He's "pilitak, " of help, but little use.
So he lies on a bed of tundra ice,
awaiting "kadzait, " wandering wolves, his eyes
blind in the twilight like those of a moose.

Slow, pleasant, death will come at six or seven
in the wake of a fierce blizzard storm,
(hypothermia and crystal form) ,
and it will be all he will know of heaven.


Comments about Pilitak by Leo Yankevich

  • Dennis N. O'brien (3/31/2013 3:42:00 PM)


    Thanks once again for posting this poem and others here. Always great to read - regards. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 28, 2013



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