Those Who Stay a Long Way Out to Sea (by Ghandl of the Qayahl Llaanas, translated by Robert Bringhurst)
Ghandl of the Qayahl Llaanas, Nine Visits to the Mythworld, trans. Robert Bringhurst (Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 2000). This poem is reproduced on the Griffin Prize Web Site (from a volume on the 2001 Canadian Shortlist).
1And then there were the ten of them
2who went to hunt with dogs, they say.
3And after they had travelled for a while,
4the mist settled in.
5And they came to a steep cliff,
6and they climbed the cliff, they say.
7And then their dogs ran back and forth on the ground below,
8squawking up at them like gulls, they say.
9And then they built a fire on top of the cliff.
10The one they called the brainless one
11fed his hunting bow to the fire, they say.
12And after it had burned away completely,
13it lay there in plain sight on the ground below.
14Then he fed himself to the fire as well.
15For a while he burned.
16Then he vanished completely
17and stood in plain sight on the ground below.
18And he called to his elder brothers to do the same.
19ŻëCome on, do what I did.
20I suffered no pain.Żû
21So they started to feed themselves to the fire.
22And one by one, as soon as they vanished,
23they stood on the ground.
24When the put in the next to eldest,
25his skin shriveled up and his eyes bulged.
26This was because he was frightened, they say.
27But after he vanished,
28he stood with the others below.
29Then the eldest did the same.
30That cliff is called The Tall Thin Rock, they say.
31Then they set off, they say.
32After they travelled a ways,
33a wren sang to one side of them.
34They could see that it punctured
35 a blue hole through the heart
36of the one who had passed closest to it, they say.
37They went a ways further
38and came to the head of Big Inlet, they say.
39And they went a ways further.
40A falcon's feather floated there in front of them.
41They tied itinto the hair of the youngest, they say.The rest of the poem cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
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