Saturday 12 August 2017

The Last Word

I thought I posted this before, but the post has the dying languages!

The Last word

In Boro the verb to love flows wide upon the tongue;
Onguboy –to love from the heart
Onsay – to pretend to love
Onsra – to love for the last time

and like the thirty one words for seaweed in Irish
that whiten without dissent upon the foreshore, *
the tongue in Boro begins to stiffen

and so we lose that which holds memory as a landscape might
and a Korean child’s tongue is surgically lengthened
that he may, one day, say “right.”

Boro- a  language in North-Eastern India

*Death of Irish” by Aidan Mathews: ‘The tide gone out for good,/Thirty-one words for seaweed/Whiten on the foreshore.’ (In Penguin Contemporary Irish Poets, ed. Derek Mahon, 1990.)

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