cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

POM: April 20


Carl Sandburg captures well how language is as fluid as a river. Rivers can shrivel up over time, and so can language. Poetry keep the languages of times, people, ideas, and civilizations from drying up.

Languages

Carl Sandburg (18781967)

There are no handles upon a language 
Whereby men take hold of it 
And mark it with signs for its remembrance. 
It is a river, this language, 
Once in a thousand years 
Breaking a new course 
Changing its way to the ocean. 
It is mountain effluvia 
Moving to valleys 
And from nation to nation 
Crossing borders and mixing. 
Languages die like rivers. 
Words wrapped round your tongue today 
And broken to shape of thought 
Between your teeth and lips speaking 
Now and today 
Shall be faded hieroglyphics 
Ten thousand years from now. 
Sing—and singing—remember 
Your song dies and changes 
And is not here to-morrow 
Any more than the wind 
Blowing ten thousand years ago.
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