Carl Sandburg’s "Languages"

13 August 2009 at 4:53 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Thought I’d share this profound poem by Carl Sandburg (despite its sexist language). We should not hold on to “pure” forms of language, because all languages (yes, even English!) will eventually die:

Languages
Carl Sandburg

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 tomorrow
Any more than the wind
Blowing ten thousand years ago.

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