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There is No Word For Goodbye
Transcript of There is No Word For Goodbye
Born in Nulato, a village along the Yukon River in Alaska
A part of Koykon-Athabaskan people
Mother diagnosed with tuberculosis
At age three, adopted by a non-native couple
Taken away from her culture and birthplace
In 1945 moved to San Francisco
Changed occupations many times
Paula Gunn Allen, a poet herself, encouraged Mary to start writing
Mary discovered her true passion for writing
Writing was her way of returning to her culture
Recounts on her past including accounts of family, culture and homeland that she cherishes Resources http://www.emcp.com/product_catalog/school/litLink/Grade06/U09-04thereisnoword/postreadWS.php
http://www.freedomvoices.org/tallmountain/mary.htm Analyzing the Poem A young girl is asking her aunt what the word "goodbye" is in her native language. She explains that that word does not exist because her culture does not believe in goodbyes Instead her culture uses the word "Tlaa", meaning "see you", showing that they believe that nothing is goodbye forever because one day we will see them again Theme This reveals about Athabaskan culture that they believe you are never truly apart when we die And in death we never leave each other We will someday meet again "When does your mouth say goodbye to your heart?" When your body leaves your soul what do you say? You don't remember when you leave because when you go up you become so much greater This poem shows how highly this culture views heaven and how faithfully they believe that you will always meet again some other time Elements of the Poems Form Personal Response I had just experienced the tough loss of my father,In my opinion, this poem is very comforting because you can know that you will never truly be apart I like when it says "you're so small then" because it demonstrates that we are so much more than what is here on this earth Overall, in my opinion this was a clever, well-written and enjoyable poem because it has a hidden message behind such simple words Before you read, here is what it's about 6 uniform stanzas 2-4 lines of the stanza are tabbed in creating an overhang of the first line The title and final line repeat goodbye The poem is conversational On the surface it appears to be a question about language but really it is about a question of life and death Sokoya, I said, looking through
the net of wrinkles into
wise black pools
of her eyes What do you say in Athabaskan
when you leave each other?
What is the word
for goodbye? Let's Read A shade of feeling rippled
the wind-tanned skin.
Ah, nothing, she said,
watching the river flash.
She looked at me close,
We just say, Tlaa. That means
We never leave each other.
When does your mouth
say goodbye to your heart? Almost Done, I Promise She touched me light
as a bluebell.
You forget when you leave us,
You're so small then.
We don't use that word. We always think you're coming
but if you don't,
we'll see you some place else.
Thre is no word fro goodbye.