To Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist
Hers was the idea of going
to the field for answers.
Learning from a south sea island
the currency of human behavior.
The imperative of her travel,
marriages, love, anthropology.
There was no such thing as random.
Or spontaneous. Or primitive.
Nature and nurture share five
letters. It has to start somewhere --
ties that bind, continue, get carried
from one person to the next.
We are born; we die. In between
we create each other, ritual, reasons
to depend, defend, befriend the
phases of ourselves, humanity.
The desire to observe was a gift --
the care, the generosity. We can
always learn from each other.
Why was she trashed? Nobody
ever gets it completely right.
We can't unskew our perspective.
We see each other but remain
utterly mysterious, dreaming the
same shadowy dreams we can't
explain. She was a woman, of course.
That frame for building thought already
half-built. Coming of Age in Samoa
was a best-seller, skyful of stars,
first glimpse of a range of thought
too big, perhaps, for a box,
nevermind choosing a new future,
or sharing the sky.
© Tori Grant Welhouse