I went into some interesting places in search of a “traditional” Native poem. But it’s really difficult to verify just who is saying it is traditional, their translation, etc.

So I stumbled on this Inuit “oral poet” Uvavnuk. A few online sources say she was struck by a meteorite and it made her clairvoyant? Regardless, this poem has been put into many anthologies and I do see why. It’s memorable and huge, at the same time so small.

“The great sea …”

By Uvavnuk

Translated by Jane Hirshfield

The great sea
frees me, moves me,
as a strong river carries a weed.
Earth and her strong winds
move me, take me away,
and my soul is swept up in joy.