Discuss and write specifically about reoccurring imagery and symbolism that help develop the themes of Daniel David Moses's poem "Inukshuk.”

In Daniel David Moses's poem “Inukshuk,” the inukshuk, an Inuit stone figure, represents the traditional ways of the people, now being eroded by a new song and new dreams on a harsh wind. The inukshuk also stands for the right way of being human, and the speaker suggests that this, too, is deteriorating.

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An inukshuk is a figure of piled stones that the Inuit used to communicate with each other, marking hunting places, showing navigational points, sending messages about stores of supplies, and pointing to the spiritual meanings in the landscape. The word “inuk” simply means a human person, and the word “inukshuk”...

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An inukshuk is a figure of piled stones that the Inuit used to communicate with each other, marking hunting places, showing navigational points, sending messages about stores of supplies, and pointing to the spiritual meanings in the landscape. The word “inuk” simply means a human person, and the word “inukshuk” means to act like a human person.

With this background, then, let's turn to Daniel David Moses's poem “Inukshuk.” The speaker talks directly to the inukshuk, noting first its humanlike form, which is common for these figures. This inukshuk, apparently, is a directional marker that helps the people in their migrations. It still stands upright in the wind and snow of the north, and the speaker sees the North Star, also a guide for travel, behind it.

This inukshuk, though, is experiencing the effects of the wind. This wind is at least partly metaphoric. It seems to refer to the wind of change, and it blows dreams into the inukshuk's crevices. A new sort of people with new songs have come to the inukshuk's location. Their songs speak of “hunters who hunt only / each other.” Silence would be better than these songs, for these people are not traveling right in the world. They are not guided by the right star, the right spiritual Pole Star, or by the inukshuk.

The inukshuk becomes a symbol of the traditional ways of a people, ways that are now being steadily lost. The speaker asks the inukshuk how long it can stand with the new song and the new dreams that blow on the wind, eroding its stones, the old customs of the people, the right ways of being human.

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