Orange fish in the ocean - photo by Hiroko Yoshii - photo by Hiroko Yoshii

The Sonic White

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“The melting ice is the hourglass by which we measure the remains of our time on this earth.

—Lysander Christo   


“All countries that have lost their legends…will be condemned to die of cold.”

—Patrice de la Tour du Pin


Remember the last King of Thule

for in his gaze an immense snowflake 

A never before seen crucifix

Hovers over the fleeting face

Of this epoch time.


There, at the top of the world,

Where glaciers are slipping 

Into the dissonant sea of calamitous sighs,

His people spoke of “nuannarpoq, nuannarpoq

The extravagant joy in being alive.

The extravagant joy in being alive.

We who have no words with which to address

the countenance of the ecstatic world,

when miniature lavender flowers 

defied the freezing breath of insuperable storms

should have honored the language of the glacial mind

now dissolving from the bedrock 

that forms the foundation of our kind.


Never oppose Sila, the life force.

Never oppose Sila, the life force.


Listen to the loon’s haunting arias,

The swooning of syllables of speech

Singing the privilege of newborn being.

Listen to the ancestral wind of the Inuit shamans

They who prophesied men who would alter the climate.

But nobody believed.


Listen to the secrets of prayers that once honored 

The great marauding power of the polar bear.

How they once endured ice now fracturing

in the Hyperborean constellation of deliquescing floes.

How they once walked like the ultimate sentinel of freedom

fleeting ghosts of perpetual hunger,

gallant kings of fury.  


A gigantic icicle from impossible latitudes

hovers over your frame,

in the steep conscience of your sleep.

There where the solitude of the north 

and the invincible deity of the cold

Bleed terror over mortality’s frame.


Have you seen the vanguard of snow fainting

Like liquid chapels into the bloodstream of our cities.

Have you seen the limpid eye of the Arctic?

Dissolved rainbows cascading over the tundra’s speech,

the kaleidoscopic vanishing of its colors.


The musk ox in pure sculptural domain

surviving the onslaught of winter’s mane.

Have you heard the moaning of the ptarmigan

deep inside the kingdom of your ear?

Have you felt the invasion of flies

hovering over novel worlds never before described.

Have you heard the penitence of the bowheads 

Saying “I am still alive.”

despite the butchery of the whalers’ eyes.


Have you seen the dissipating days

Of the sentinel sun, the one that still disappears

from the all too unruly weather of man?


Who were the intransigent voyagers 

who startled the crystalline infinities 

and wandered like lost soldiers 

across the forbidding template of time.

The snows that built the features of our intellect.

the ice that forged the heart of imperious men,

are now drowning in the maelstrom of a new polar sea.


Long ago, we pursued novel molecules of frozen words

howling in the freezing light.

Nuannarpoq…….nuannarpoq, the extravagant joy in being alive.


To where now, are we steering the world?

Who now honors the atmospheric gods?

Remember now the visionary veil of Ultima Thule,

The green sails of the Northern Lights,

How they still breathe of evangel from our one and only star.

Have you heard the drowning weight of ice crushing

The frail features of our purpose?


They who are the counterweight 

to our frail and diaphanous fiction.


You who once swooned under the narrative of progress

have you seen the theatre of the cryogenic tear?


We, children of a new ice age, shudder with the heat of an unearthly stay.

A fire rages in the syllabus of our brain.

The Inuit once warned, “there would be people who would change the weather.”

The blood and calamity of commerce

Now seeps into the soil of our manor with eco systemic daze.

We who have lost the syntax to honor the clouds

do not possess the knowledge of the supervening winds.

Our words do not manifest the regency of storms 

Or the agency of ancestors spiraling like brethren in the manumit air.

Something unholy is now haunting the vast tundra stage.

A consummate force is now dissolving the great lair

of the Arctic symphony the Inuit used to praise.


Are we burning the ardor of the world?

“Funny weather” the shamans used to say.

In the deafening cold, their words still summon

the siren of the earth buried deep within the human strain.

The tumultuous calving grounds of the caribou

The exorbitant power of the walrus’ place

these are the totemic gods of the native seers.

In the Elders’ eyes, resplendent pools

of a bygone time, like a sorcerer’s spell covers his sight.

In an image of a fogbow, like the suspended veil

of a giant window, a portal that once led to Thule,

and hidden kingdoms beyond, an Elder reminisces

on the weather that bound the ancient ways.


The Elders once beheld such visions,

and some also saw a pole, like a tree that upheld the world!

A tree that is no longer seen except by those

who have crossed over from this dimension

of heat into that spell where icebergs still speak.

Silence, the secret sound of wisdom’s inner state

is where timeworn songs are born

emerging from the bottom of the Arctic Sea,

Where tales of mermaids and supernatural strains,

occasionally still ascend from the darkness 

of the deep, finding the light,

bursting into the sunlit air.



“The extravagant joy in being alive.”

While we dispose of the soul of ice

like a winter ablaze with the vestiges of our remaining days.


All photos by Cyril Christo, Marie Wilkinson and Lysander Christo

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