Matthew Sweeney

(1952 / Lifford)

String - Poem by Matthew Sweeney

If ever the thought strikes you
to head off for the Arctic,
be sure to take with you
a large roll of string,
for the Inuits up there
can make string tell stories -
anyone who's a poet
is also a string-artist
and talks to the kids as well.
So you'd better practise
before you get there.
Read up on your history, too -
that fellow, Lord Franklin,
who disappeared; whose wife
liked to swing in a hammock
and who offered all kinds
of rewards for anyone
who could bring the body
back from the ice. If he'd
taken a big enough roll
of string, and trailed it
behind him all the cold way,
she could have wrapped up
and found him herself.
And even today an Inuit
string-artist tells the story
to hordes of visitors
without uttering a word.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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