Overcoming pain through poetry
Rankin Inlet writer helps himself and others with his writing

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

Like the clouds you came silently, enveloping us with your great presence.
Like the rain you tapped us with your witticism.
And like the morning dew you dropped your kindness upon us.
Like the wind you blew away our misconception of you.
You had an aura with staying power as the fog.
But above all you were the sun that brightened our lives.

RANKIN INLET (Apr 07/97) - This is just one of the many pieces of poetry by Bill Taparti, a Rankin Inlet man who has a passion for writing.

He wrote this poem after Jonathan Autut, a close friend, suffered an accidental death on his four-wheeler on his 22 birthday August 29, 1996.

Taparti has a way with words, but as he explains, writing is the only tool he has for overcoming all his pain and sorrow.

"I can't express myself orally," he said, looking away. "I write because I can't face another person and tell them what I'm thinking or how I'm feeling."

The 33-year-old part-time cook has witnessed the deaths of many friends and relatives over the last few years.

Most recently the accidental death of his father, Lucien Taparti, who was found froze to death on the land a few weeks ago.

Prior to his father's passing, Taparti had almost given up on life himself.

He attempted suicide three times over the last four years.

"I slashed my wrists, both of them and most recently I took a pocket knife and slashed my chest," he said, pulling up his sleeve and making a cutting motion.

"It was mostly over a relationship gone bad," he uttered.

To overcome the pain, instead of keeping it bottled up inside, he turned to pen and paper his only friend it seemed as he poured out his heart on soul.

"I've seen a lot of pain and I've seen pain in other people's eyes. When I write it makes me feel good."

When Taparti shows his work to friends they usually ask for copies, which also makes him feel good.

His work can be seen displayed around the community and at Nunavut Arctic College so others can read and understand how they feel from time to time.

"I write things down so they understand the hardship they're going through."

Taparti is happy with the creative work he's done so far, but he hopes one day to do more with his writing.

Even though he said he's not the type of person who likes to plan for the future, he would like to see one of his poems published.

"I want to make my life better and my relative's lives a little better too," he said.