Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dead Languages


A poem from the collection "Late in the Day" (2014), reflections from the long study 
of language by a master writer.

Dreadful, this death, dragging
So many lives and lively minds along
After it into unmeaning. 
Endless, imbecile silence.

The more ways there are to say Mother
The wiser the world is.
Never are there enough
Words for Well done!  Or Welcome!

A line of verse revives lost Aprils.
In the name for Home lie whole nations.
The unused word may be the useful one.

Old nouns are in no hurry.
Old verbs are very patient.
The water of life is learning.

May elders ever tell the mythic origins
In the almost lost old language
To children cheated of knowledge
Of their own holy inheritance.

May myopic scholars scowl
Forever at fragments of inscription
So that the young may yawn
Log over grim grammars, learning

To speak the tongues unspoken
And hear a human music otherwise unheard.

Ursula Leguin

1 comment:

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

LeGuin was such a master of language!