The theme for this World Poetry Day is Language.
Here is the second poem, ‘Losing Language’ by W.S. Merwin
Losing a Language
A breath leaves the sentences and does not come back
yet the old still remember something that they could say
but they know now that such things are no longer believed
and the young have fewer words
many of the things the words were about
no longer exist
the noun for standing in mist by a haunted tree
the verb for I
the children will not repeat
the phrases their parents speak
somebody has persuaded them
that it is better to say everything differently
so that they can be admired somewhere
farther and farther away
where nothing that is here is known
we have little to say to each other
we are wrong and dark
in the eyes of the new owners
the radio is incomprehensible
the day is glass
when there is a voice at the door it is foreign
everywhere instead of a name there is a lie
nobody has seen it happening
this is what the words were made
here are the extinct feathers
here is the rain we saw
– by WS Merwin
Source and Read about WS Merwin at Poets.org
[…] poems on language, the previous three are: Ama Ata Aidoo’s Homesickness, WS Merwin’s Losing a Language and Silver’s […]
Indeed, Kinna,w e are losing our language. It is sad to see our kids speaking other languages, notably English, but their mother tongues. And in so doing they mutilate the very language that they are mimicking. A wonderful poem 🙂
Indeed! An old man once said if you want to extinct a race, you take away their language from them. You are right as you can see it on radio, tv, online social media how people struggle to put the right words and tenses and sentences together. On a lighter note you can see the hunger with which others try to showcase their constant touch with their mother tongue online.
I once tried to correct a seasoned journalist’s error of the use of his language but wasn’t ready for it.
So sad. Could you spark a talk on twitter on any topic to see how people can respond in their local languages alone? I am dying to be involved. To me it’s not a shame to wrongly use the English language but it is when it’s my local language.
This poem is great! Haunting and thought provoking. Thanks for posting it.
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