David Daniel Moses

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What words create imagery in the poem "Inukshuk" by Daniel David Moses? How does this imagery enhance the poem and its themes?

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An inukshuk is a manmade tower of stones, sometimes also called a cairn, made by people from the northernmost parts of Canada, Greenland and Alaska. Inukshuks are thought to have been used as reference points to aid navigation. In Daniel David Moses' poem, "Inukshuk," the speaker describes and ponders upon...

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An inukshuk is a manmade tower of stones, sometimes also called a cairn, made by people from the northernmost parts of Canada, Greenland and Alaska. Inukshuks are thought to have been used as reference points to aid navigation. In Daniel David Moses' poem, "Inukshuk," the speaker describes and ponders upon the problem of northern expansion from the imagined perspective of one of these inukshuks.

In the third and fourth stanzas of the poem, the speaker describes the niches between the stones in the inukshuk, which "ought to be empty" but are now "home to dreams." This metaphorical image of dreams filling the niches between the stones represents the expansion of civilization from the south. The "dreams" are from the south, and are perhaps of new settlements and new lives in the north.

In the second half of the poem, the speaker implies that the natural world is opposed to the migration of people and civilization from the south. The wind, for example, "Wants to stop up each niche" so that there is no room for the dreams from the south to settle. The personification of the wind here implies that the natural world is a living entity and that northern expansion is an infringement upon the rights of that entity.

Imagery is also used throughout the poem to emphasize how cold and inhospitable the northern regions are. The speaker describes "blue wind," "snow," and "frozen / flesh." This recurring motif of coldness is like a frigid wind blowing through the poem. The word "blue" connotes something that has frozen," and the image of "frozen / flesh" suggests frostbite. This imagery serves as a warning for those from the south who want to colonize and populate the regions of the north.

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