“An Alaskan Moment” for December 14th, 2020
Download or Stream “An Alaskan Moment” for the week of December 14th, 2020.
Today is Monday, December 14th, 2020
“An Alaskan Moment”
from Aleutian Peninsula Broadcasting in Sand Point
This week in Alaska History:
December 14, 1940 – The Valdez Federal Building, which housed the U. S. District Court and Marshal’s office, burned.
December 15, 1950 – Frank A. Boyle, the Territorial Auditor, died at Juneau. The Assistant Auditor, Neil Moore, replaced him.
December 16, 1871 – George A. Edes was appointed Collector of Customs for Alaska with headquarters at Sitka.
December 17, 1959 – A PBY plane operated by the Stanford Research Institute, disappeared near Ketchikan. The wreck was later found an Gravina Island.
December 18, 1971 – Thirty years ago Congress enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act conveying over 40 million acres to Alaska Native-owned corporations and settling aboriginal land claims.
December 19, 1962 – There was a $300,000 fire at the Cape Lisburne Air Force Station.
December 20, 1905 – The SS Portland stranded on Spire Island Reef near Ketchikan, suffered $20,000 damage.
Now for your poem.
Jerah Chadwick was Alaska’s eleventh Poet Laureate, serving from October 2004 until September 2006. In 1982, he moved from Washington State to Unalaska and lived for two years in an abandoned World War II Quonset hut four miles away from Morris Cove. There, Chadwick wrote poetry inspired by his surroundings and raised goats. He eventually took a job directing the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ Aleutian and Pribilof Center in Dutch Harbor. In addition to his university work, he helped establish the Museum of the Aleutians and assisted in a culture camp named ‘Camp Qungaayux’. It is an organization dedicated to preserving the Unangax cultural heritage.
The following poem is from the book “Story Hunger”, published in 1999 by Salmon Press, Ireland
“After the Aleut”
by Jerah Chadwick
Say a woman once stepped
from volcano steam, or a man
from the sea, desiring
to live among us.
Or that the storms once settled
leave drift logs and whale
for kin to apportion – even
volatile forces nurturing,
who would claim they are not related?
Tanaang Awaa, Aleut storytellers
began: This is a creation
of my country. Each tale
a twining of familiar
and strange, and at each telling
the lit faces, the lamps
drinking from their own
darkness, the everyday
and ancient rewoven.
Listen, even now wind
tries the door. Cold presses
its face to the glass, only the window’s
delicate lacing of breath between us.
Say the wind envies and would remain,
that cold too steals
around our stove for this reason. Wood enough
for the night and more
beached and curing in the blasts. Imagine
the cabinet’s rattling, this pulsing
of the floor as dancing.